Visual Supply Co. Interview | Let’s Build Something Beautiful Together
– Joel Flory + Greg Lutze –
Visual Supply Company, also known as VSCO (pronounced Vis-Co), is the renowned photo editing app that is taking the photography community by storm. From “The Journal”, that highlights artists and their work from around the world, to the “Artist Initiative”, a 100K scholarship fund that provides artists the resources to pursue their creative vision, VSCO is building something beautiful. As supporters, photography enthusiasts, and patrons joining the worldwide movement, Conscious Magazine wanted to get a glimpse into the culture at VSCO in this interview with its creators, Joel Flory and Greg Lutze.
Q | Where are you from? Joel Flory: VSCO is based in Oakland, CA with smaller offices in Colorado Springs, CO and New York City, NY. VSCO was born out of a desire to make digital tools we wanted to use ourselves and a brand we were proud to be wear on our chests.
Q | Where did the idea of Visual Supply Co. come from? Greg Lutze: Joel and I had been friends for a while from previous design and photography collaborations. After working on a branding project, we started talking about the state of photography, design, art, and technology. The initial concept of VSCO was born from these discussions.
Q |Were you an aspiring entrepreneur as a child? JF: Definitely. I started pushing a broom at age 4 in the family construction business and soon opened my first “company” selling lemonade in my front yard. At age 10 I proudly wore my title of Janitor. The entrepreneur gene ran pretty strong.
GL: I’m not sure the entrepreneur gene manifested itself when I was a child. I mostly just wanted to be John Elway or Michael Jordan. And maybe MC Hammer at one point in my childhood. I did run a photocopied punk and alternative rock fanzine with a friend and sold them for 25 cents a shot. We didn’t last long though – the local Walgreens raised their copy machine prices to 10 cents a sheet after our third issue. Game over.
Q | Where do you believe the drive to create something comes from? Are you a photographer? JF: For the most part, I believe a person is born with the drive to create. Its part of their DNA. I was a pro photographer for ten plus years before VSCO. Photography will always be something I love.
Q | Is there anything unique about the atmosphere that you wanted to establish from the start? GL: From a company perspective, it isn’t all about money or social media status. Obviously, money plays a factor in running a good business, but it is not the only measurement for success. We try to create an atmosphere that revolves around honoring art and artists – an atmosphere that stands wholeheartedly by the creative community.
JF: As it relates to the VSCO team or “office culture,” we want to create a close-knit environment that is about the team, not the individual. Nothing is ever accomplished by one person at VSCO – it is always a collaboration.
Q | What future plans are you excited to bring to VSCO? JF: We’ve laid the basic foundation for VSCO. But this is only the beginning. We want to build an “ecosystem” that is truly built for the creative from the beginning to the end. I’ll hold my cards close to the chest on this one, but I will say we are all about original content and curation.
Q | What is legacy to you and how will you leave one? GL: Legacy is everything that we leave behind – the smile or frown on someone’s face when you no longer here on earth. To leave behind a good legacy, you must think beyond yourself- you must think of the welfare of humanity. To me, a true legacy has very little to do with money or possessions. As to how this is accomplished, I can’t honestly answer that as I am trying to figure that out myself.
Q | How is VSCO making a difference in the world? JF: We are no Mother Theresa, but our hope is we can make a positive, creative and social impact in our own way. From a creative perspective, we want to honor artists and the work they create. We deem creativity as massively important, so we would be remiss to not do whatever we can to help the community.
GL: A company can choose to be a Prince John or a Robin Hood. We’d rather be the kind of company who gives back instead of hoards things. We believe that if VSCO wins, the entire creative community wins with us. We are in this together. This is why we run the VSCO Journal, it is a way to highlight and promote great photographers. We also recently launched the VSCO Artist Initiative, a $100,000 scholarship fund providing artists the resources to pursue their creative vision.
JF: From a social perspective, we believe photography can give a voice to the voiceless, allowing them to show people the world from their perspective and to raise awareness. We started VSCO Give in 2012 with the desire to make a difference in the world by partnering with fantastic non-profit organizations like 100 Cameras and Krochet Kids International. We want to use the talents and connections we have in the artistic world to help people, particularly kids, in interesting and creative ways.
Photos courtesy of VSCO.
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