As curator and content manager at Yahoo, Liz Lapp has a direct hand in cultivating and growing a fresh and extraordinary community on Flickr, where she works to discover new voices and talent across the world.
At Yahoo, Lapp brings together years of experience in the photography industry— including curatorial positions at Shutterstock and Farmani Gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn, in addition to her own online and pop-up gallery Finch & Ada—to find what resonates with audiences today.
In anticipation of her judging of the 2015 Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards, we interviewed Lapp about what it means to be a curator in the digital age and what specifically she’ll be looking for in this year’s submissions.
As Curator & Content Manager at Yahoo, what does your work involve?
"It involves being curious and having a gut instinct about what’s unique. I search and sort through a vast amount of content and observe what the audiences are getting excited about. Sharing these insights with teams through content helps to inform product, social, branding and the overall conversations we have with our users and our community. It at times feels like being the hunter gatherer of what’s trending."
What do you look for when you are finding content for Yahoo and Flickr?
"I’m searching for content, in the case of Flickr that would be images, that makes me feel something. I believe that genius content gives you the 'Feels' and is something you are dying to share. I want people to have an emotional response and think, 'Wow, they made me feel something,' which in turn inspires them to like it, discuss it and spread the ideas."
Your position at Yahoo must keep you up-to-date not only with what’s going on in the industry but also with what kinds of images people want to see. What insight can you give us about what the internet—and the world—is looking for?
"That’s a huge question! When I look at some of the social channels I support or follow, I think, 'Well, there’s another food on wood or tiny person standing on the edge of a cliff.' All things I’m just as responsible for publishing! And yet a common thread could be beauty and inspiration. Again, it’s back to the theme of feeling emotional about something. It can also be any range of emotion; from rage to LOLs, but for whatever fix of emotion you need, the the Internet has made it easier for anyone or anywhere with Wifi to get their 'feels' on."
At Flickr, audience participation is key. In what ways, if any, is the web changing the landscape of photography?
"One of the biggest things I see and leverage is the global access the Internet provides. For example, one of the coolest things on Flickr is Groups. It allows members to create a group around a specific theme or topic. As a group grows, it becomes very much an online global exhibition. For a curious person this is really a kind of magical space. A space to see images from all around the world participating in one theme. It’s crowdsourced curation at its best and worst. Some well known blogs and publications have groups, like Jeff Hamada’s Booooooom.com and iGNANT. I definitely go to Flickr groups to find content."
What will you be looking for in an Emerging Photography submission?
"I’ll be looking for images or series that inspire emotions. I will also be paying attention to photographers I believe need the attention to have their project fully realized. I want to be a curious enabler."
Apply to the Feature Shoot 2015 Emerging Photography Awards here. It pays to apply early, as we will be featuring some of our favorite submissions right here and over our social media channels.