Squarespace and Magnum partnered to bring together photography and website design in an unusual way: Magnum gave six photographers one roll of film and then Squarespace made six website designs inspired by what they produced.
Magnum Photos and Squarespace brought together Bruce Gilden, Jacob Aue Sobel, Olivia Arthur, Sabia Çimen, Steve McCurry, and William Keo into the ambitious and challenging project. While they are all located in different places around the world, they were tasked with shooting with a single camera and a single roll of film. While what they created did not necessarily need to tell the same story, it did need to tell a story, and since each needed to use the same roll, they would only get a small number of shots to work with.
Beyond that, a mistake would mean forfeiting one of their meager few shots. Building a meaningful story with so few photos to work with is quite difficult, and the photographers each commented that it was not only a creative challenge, it was special and unique — something they had not tried before.
“You’re a little bit nervous that each frame has to count,” Aue Sobel says.
Squarespace then created six unique website templates inspired by the creativity of each photographer and their individual websites in what it is calling the Magnum Collection, named after each of the artists.
Olivia Arthur’s photos inspired a template that is described as an “airy design” with “abundant white space and an organic layout.” Aue Sobel’s photos became a design that uses bold typography and the ability to prominently display products. Çimen’s design is “video forward” which has a multi-column layout system that allows artists to display varying work. Gilden’s looks bold and contemporary, with photos that can overlap and text that stands out against a dark background. Keo’s design is described as “brutalist,” with a large and “roomy” grid layout that supports a multitude of pages to highlight photos. Finally, McCurry, perhaps the most well-known of the group, inspired a “well-structured” design that has distinct elements and “generous room” to highlight multiple projects.
While obviously a campaign to promote new options from Squarespace and is, ultimately, an ad, the project is still unique and asked photographers to collaborate and work strictly within unusual confines. All of the photographers and the templates they inspired can be found on Squarespace.
Update: Squarespace has clarified that it created templates that were inspired by the creativity of each photographer, not the photos they shot.