The corner of Prince Street and Bowery by the New Museum in New York City has been taken over by a new campaign. “Images that empower narrative” is a collaboration between 12 creative individuals and images from the Offset collection.

“The installation is centered on the role images play in empowering narrative,” says Matthew Smith, Offset’s General Manager. “We set out to partner with a diverse group of people who are both young disruptors and incredible storytellers within their fields.”

Each storyteller selected an inspirational image from Offset and was challenged to create an original short story that reflected his or her personality and authentic voice. The storytellers represent an array of industries including music, fashion, tech, and food.

Offset’s lead designer on the project, Emilia Naberezny, explains the conceptual thinking behind the out-of-home exhibition: “Our hope is that the rotating installation sparks creativity in each person who passes, as well as works to change the conversation around licensed photography.”

We also asked four of the featured storytellers to explain their processes. Read on to see the images they chose, along with their stories and commentary.

“Usually when I employ images to communicate, I start with a message and try to find an image that fits. This process was the opposite. I looked through the Offset archives to find something that resonated with me visually, but didn’t say too much on its own. As opposed to many stock photography collections, the photos on Offset seemed to be engineered around taggable search criteria and had a much more editorial quality. This made them easy to work with, especially in this ‘image first’ approach.”

– Scott Norton, Co-Founder of Sir Kensington’s

MAKER is so image-heavy, and the layout is really important and can directly influence the reader’s experience. For that reason, I find myself most drawn to images that play with light and have some sort of grid or linear element. When I learned the text for this project could be open-format and creative, I immediately drew from my personal experiences. Embodied histories are so rich for me; it’s a great starting place for any narrative. As a publisher, being at a desk with my thoughts is really where it all started.”

– Alyse Archer-Coité, Editor-in-Chief of MAKER magazine

“I like stepping into images to experience that moment. In this case, it was a moment I had lived in college. The details of the photo grabbed me, and walked me into a memory of absinthe: the feel of the spoon, the smell of the burning sugar, the way the heat dripped into the glass.”

– Andrew Kippen, Head of Marketing at Canary

“I’ve been interested in aerial-view photos since we incorporated one in the cover art for Bear Hands’ single ‘Giants.’ When I found the tulip-fields photo, I was drawn to it because of the striking graphic appearance of the flowers from above.”

– Will Griggs, Founder and Head of Music Operations at Cantora

“Images that Empower Narrative” will be on display during the months of June and July at the northwest corner of Bowery and Prince Street in New York City. The exhibition will then move to the corner of Hudson and Spring Street in August. New images, stories, and storytellers will be featured every two weeks. For more, follow #EmpowerNarrative on social media and at Offset.com.

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