VSCO which stands for Visual Supply Co began its life as a company that made presets and filters for Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture (the two industry standard photo and film editing software packages). They still provide the Adobe and Apple filters/presets but are more well known for their wildly popular smartphone app, VSCO Cam.
With VSCO Cam the company brings the same professional, industry standard level filters they were selling separately but this time to the smartphone. VSCO Cam is more than just an app to take and edit photos with professional filters though, it also lets you share these pictures with the vibrant, active VSCO community.
But why do we love VSCO Cam so damn much?
As is put eloquently by The Verge “whereas Instagram set out to make your mobile photos look good, VSCO hopes to make them look real” and this really shows when looking at the community’s photos using the VSCO Cams discover feature. Unlike with most other photo based social networks, with VSCO Cam the community is built in a way that encourages users to upload the photos they truly want.
This follows on from the above point. As is put brilliant by co-founder Joel Flory, VSCO Cam is the “anti-social social network” as “you can't leave comments” or “click a heart icon” or even "like something”. He goes on to say that “all you can do—for now—is follow photographers whose work you admire”.
With VSCO Cam the users are unburdened by the conventions that dictate other social networks which, maybe unintentionally, encourage people to take and upload the images that will yield the largest positive reaction (likes, shares, followers, comments ect) which in many cases may not be the ones they would upload if these metrics and conventions didn’t exist. By eliminating all the other metrics, with VSCO Cam, users are free to present precisely the image they want and are free to take creative risks.
VSCO Cam, in the words of the apps co-founder, is “designed to strip out excess, allowing the images to speak for themselves”. The main feed is a seemingly endless stream of photos on a white background – nothing else. This makes it clear that when using VSCO Cam it’s the photography, the art, that is the most important thing not the follower counts, the number of likes, the number of shares, the number of comments or any number of other things that most other photo based social networks all have. This is why a comparison between VSCO Cam and other photo based social networks doesn’t make sense, as VSCO Cam behaves unlike any of them.
VSCO’s co-founder sees the app as a way for “creatives to show off their best work—a highlight reel that rewards artistic merit and unsung talent”. This focus on creative photography is apparent from the minute you open the app. Almost every photo we come across is either interesting, jarring, thought provoking, awe inspiring, or in many cases, a combination of these emotions. And we love it.