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Why We Used Zoomph for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize is regarded as one of the most prestigious prizes for photography worldwide. The £30,000 prize, annually held by the Photographers’ Gallery London rewards the photographer who has made the most significant contribution to photography in Europe during the past year.

From 17 Apr – 7 Jun 2015, the works by the photographers from this year’s shortlist are exhibited in the gallery. To collect and display the impressions and opinions of the visitors as well as the professional media echo, the Photographers’ Gallery uses its massive Media Wall, measuring 3.0 by 2.7 meters in total distributed on 8 panels, measuring 768 by 1366 pixels each.

Why We Used Zoomph for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

I have been tasked to design and program the wall on behalf of the Gallery. Here are the reasons why we have chosen Zoomph for the job.

Why you should use Zoomph from a Developer’s Point of View

Due to the very specific measurements of the Media Wall and its distribution on 8 screens, this project required a fully customizable solution, not only in the CSS, but also in the Javascript department.

With Zoomph’s premium plan, I was able to program any feature without having to use hacks: If you are a developer trying to do something special with the other providers (and I have looked at quite a few), be prepared to do some nasty CORS-disabled Iframe script insertion or similar tricks. With Zoomph, customization does not end with “paste your CSS here” – you gain full control over the Javascript as well! Zoomph gives you actual JSON to render into your layout, all wrapped in a nice, promise-driven interface topped off with data sources and fully configurable fetching ranges.

This enabled me to achieve exactly what I was going for visually. To give you a better idea, here is a dramatically sped-up version of the wall showcasing the re-shuffling.

Why you should use Zoomph from a Manager’s Point of View

The feeds that collect your Tweets, Instagrams or Facebook posts can all be set up and moderated via a super-intuitive dashboard that does not require any dev-knowledge. The search terms for the different social media outlets offer more flexibility and fine-grained control than I have found with any other provider (think geotagging, differentiation between @usernames, #hashtags and whole phrases). As a bonus, the limits on how many of these terms you may use are also far more generous than I have found elsewhere.

Moderation is also a breeze: Zoomph offers a wealth of automated moderation work flows and filters to minimize (the very costly) human management time. Right now, we are allowing all posts to automatically show up on the wall, occasionally checked. Closer to the award ceremony, we will switch to approved-only to avoid leaks on the big screen.

In summary:

If you are a looking for a social media wall or an embeddable social media hub, you already know their benefits. If you also want your developers and staffers to have a good experience doing so with a rock-solid and fully customizable solution, give Zoomph a shot.

Written by Christopher Kamper on behalf of the The Photographers’ Gallery, London.
Installation photos and video © Kate Elliott

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