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The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund was created in 1979 to honor the memory of W. Eugene Smith, an American master photo essayist and journalist, by giving an annual production grant in documentary photography. Since its founding, grant recipients have confronted issues including, but not limited to, prostitution, discrimination, addiction, homelessness, poverty, AIDS, and illegal immigration.

Link: W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Website
Client: W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund
Published: May 31, 2011
The Challenge
Originally developed a number of years ago, the website for the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund was starting to show its age. There were few updates aside from the yearly Grant recipient announcements, and the website remained mostly static.

The primary focus of the website — the Grant's many legendary recipients — were not featured as prominently as should be the case, with each photographer's work shown with small images.

Beyond these issues, there was another challenge: the logistics of acquiring and managing the assets from the Grant's past 33 recipients; an international group of individuals dispersed around the world.


smithfund.org
smithfund.org
The Solution
Using Wordpress as a light-weight framework — in conjunction with an existing theme that met 90% of the requirements right out of the box — the core of the site was ready to deploy quickly, allowing the bulk of our time to be spent on migrating the existing content, creating additional content, tweaking the design, and adding new features.

A dedicated page was created for each Grant recipient in order to share their work and biographic information, and a new Recipients roll-up page was created to offer an easier and more attractive way to browse the work of all 33 of the Grant's past recipients.

In addition to larger and more interactive galleries to showcase each Grant recipient's still images, the MediaStorm Platform was used to manage and display related video. The MediaStorm Platform's Share and Embed functionality will allow for exposure to a larger audience.

To keep the audience informed, a Mailchimp newsletter list was created, and — along with the website's blog feed and Facebook page — these three elements were featured more prominently on the website.

Sponsors of the Fund were also given more weight on the website by displaying their logos in the footer on every page, and also in the sidebar in the blog, both as a means to encourage additional sponsors and also to thank those who have already given their support.

The blog itself was another new feature to the website, allowing the Fund to communicate with its audience with more frequency than has been the case in the past, where updates to the website were by and large restricted to the yearly Grant recipient announcements.

Finally, the management of communication and delivery of assets from each of the 33 individual recipients was handled via Google Docs, which enabled us to stay on top of the progress and dependencies along each step of the way in a collaborative manner.


About the Client
The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund was created in 1979 to honor the memory of W. Eugene Smith, an American master photo essayist and journalist, by giving an annual production grant in documentary photography. Since its founding, grant recipients have confronted issues including, but not limited to, prostitution, discrimination, addiction, homelessness, poverty, AIDS, and illegal immigration.


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