Image hosts like Flickr and SmugMug are a dime a dozen. On the portfolio front, platforms like Cargo Collective do a fine job of presenting your work without the clutter. And even Tumblr can do in a pinch with a slick theme and a few CSS tweaks. Throw in the Instagrams, Facebooks, and VSCOs of the world, and suddenly the photo-sharing space can make one’s eyes go cross.
So why on Earth would we need another photo-sharing platform?
That’s the big question facing Storehouse cofounder Mark Kawano, a former designer at Apple who once served as Cupertino’s UI Evangelist. (Essentially, he’s who third-party developers would go to for design guidance.) Together with Timothy Donnelly, formerly of defunct news publication The Daily, Storehouse launched as an iPad app in January that bills itself as an easy, stripped-down way to tell visually elegant stories, kind of like a Medium for photographers. Today, the company announced $7 million in Series A funding, led by Sherpa Ventures.
What sets Storehouse apart, says Kawano, is it makes putting together an attractive, scrollable post intuitive, taking advantage of the iPad’s native touch capabilities. You don’t have to be a Photoshop wiz to put something pretty together. “There really wasn’t anything focused on making that kind of stuff easy,” said Kawano. “We really wanted to optimize on just how to make stories.”
Each visual “story” is meant to be shown off, like an old analog photo album dedicated solely to, say, your Hawaiian honeymoon. Like a Medium post, each Storehouse story is built to stand alone on either the web or within the app; like Medium, the standout stories are curated and surfaced throughout the Storehouse network.
After dumping in your images or videos, contorting and editing media is sublimely easy: a pinch here, a swipe there. Take this lovely fashion story by Alice + Olivia–it’s akin to a glitzy magazine spread more than a traditional blog post.
Employing a vertical scroll instead of flippable pages or slideshow slides was a deliberate design choice, added Kawano–a nod to “what makes sense” on a touchscreen. Why mimic analog–as The Daily did–when tablets aren’t inhibited by archaic page counts? “With digital, we tend to focus on a single part of the screen,” he said, referring to Storehouse’s visual sensibilities. “That’s just something that feels right for the continuation of the story–you don’t need this big visual break between things.”
In the few short months it has been available, Storehouse has published tens of thousands of stories, everything from sprawling photo spreads navigating Antarctica’s treacherous terrain to multimedia book reports on the Civil War put together by elementary school students (really). As of now, no Android version is in the works, and Kawano says that “our focus is growing the community.”
If you’d like to give Storehouse a swipe, go here.