500px, quickly becoming known as the “Flickr for artsy photographers”, has released a new iPad app designed to deliver a beautiful photo viewing experience. In just a few days the app has already risen into the top 5 free photo apps in the app store, and now serves half of all traffic seen by 500px. GigaOM reports that users spend an average of 35 minutes per visit, viewing 80 photographs in the process.
The website has also been experiencing incredible growth. Traffic has grown over the past year by more than 20x to 3.4 million visitors per month, and continues to grow at 30% month over month. The service — which has 12 employees — currently stores 2.5 million photographs.
500px [iTunes App Store]
Ex-Magnum and current National Geographic photographer Michael Nichols first launched his website back in 2001 but left it untouched until last year, when he finally decided to update it with new work. After spending a considerable about of energy towards the update, he suddenly decided to change course:
I spent months updating it: new galleries, new captions, stories and videos. It was an incredible amount of work. Right before I hit publish on the site, I realized that I just couldn’t give it away anymore, I had poured my soul and time into it and while I don’t care about making money off of it, I needed to be sure people would value it. I wanted to be the guinea pig for the rest of the photographers out there. So I scaled back the content on my website and decided to embrace the new technology of the iPad and build an app. This way, the audience views the photo essays with my voice behind them. [#]
His paywall experiment seems to be well-received so far — the app currently has a 4.5/5 star rating in the iTunes Store. It’ll be interesting to see if more photographers follow his lead.
(via British Journal of Photography)