Reaching out to the brain drain from Ireland, Daire Irwin and Eddie Johnston are the brains behind Lokofoto.com. The new start-up has created an online bank of more than 800 photos of Irish landscapes, from the panoramic views of the aurora borealis captured in Malin Head a few weeks ago to the Samuel Beckett Bridge that spans the River Liffey in Dublin.
The duo want to reach out to Irish expats as well as photographers, who can upload their creative outputs to the site and sell them.
It was at Startup Weekend in Dublin last February when Irwin, an artist, and Johnston first met. Following the marathon 54-hour event at the NDRC, when people came together to create digital start-ups, the duo won ‘best start-up concept’ for their app Exsibit.com. (Incidentally, the next Startup Weekend is taking place in Dublin at Google’s European HQ from 2-4 March.)
After this, Johnston and Irwin worked together on the Enterprise Ireland-led Create Ireland programme where they developed the idea for Lokofoto, which is now supported by Enterprise Ireland.
‘Photography by location’ online collection
So what’s the site all about? Because of the brain drain from Ireland at the minute, the duo said they decided to set up the site to give expats a little taste of home.
The way Lokofoto works is photographers submit their pictures to the site. Once the images are uploaded, visitors to the site are asked to vote for and curate the images.
Night-time vista of the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, which spans the River Liffey, with The Convention Centre Dublin in the background. The photo is available on Lokofoto.com. Photographer: Paul Sweeney
Irwin said photographers can submit their photos from across the world and identify them by location. Once a sale occurs, photographers receive their share of the sale and Lokofoto handles the printing, shipping and handling. Already, the site features images from Argentina and Malaysia.
Johnston said that, as part of their research, they carried out a survey about photography and Irish people. From their survey, they found that 62pc of people had never purchased a photographic print before.
"We are creating a site to change that, allowing people to discover photography that truly means something to them, connecting photographer and collector. Our aim is to provide high-quality, localised photos and eventually have photos from every locality in the world," he said.