"We wanted to create a platform that honored the art [our users] created without likes and comments." Yet, eager for feedback, many VSCO Cam users are posting their work to Instagram, as shown by the sheer volume of #vscocam tags hitting the service every day.
"They are utilizing Instagram for what it’s great at: connecting," says Flory.
Seeing the same shade of Sutro or Kelvin grading the hundredth photo in a row has made the app’s heavy-handed filters feel a bit stale, and videos, while useful, have detracted from what was once the defining mobile photography experience.
However, one corner of Instagram remains a sanctuary of excellent mobile photos.
What was once a platform for avid mobile photographers has become the next Facebook, and that’s okay, but what’s left is a gap VSCO Cam perfectly fills.
In doing so, it's building the next Instagram — not the next billion dollar social network, but the next app that truly moves the state of photography forward.
"They’re taking the film stocks that photographers still widely use, like Kodak Porta, and replicating its tones and color rendition beautifully," says Wilkinson.
The new app was downloaded over a million times in its first week, and hasn’t dropped out of the top 15 in the App Store’s Photography and Video category since launch.
There are more than 4 million of them, and they’re all tagged #vscocam.
The photos were posted directly from VSCO Cam, which has quickly emerged as the premier mobile photography app on i Phone (and soon, on Android).
One filter, C3, emulates modern negative Fuji film stocks using contrast and gritty green tones.
Another, LV1, was built in partnership with Levi’s and emulates classic slide film.