- The winner of the “Empire State of Mind” photo contest, Dushawn (Dusan) Jovic, was announced during the “Empire State of Mind: Photo Contest Finale” at NAB Show New York.
- With a cash prize of $4,000, this first-of-its-kind contest included a chance to direct a photoshoot on the streets of New York City with social media influencer and expert strategist Avori Henderson.
- The session, featuring Bamboo founder and CEO Nick Urbom, explored new storytelling techniques blending photos, videos and narratives, and provided insights into leveraging social media tools and content monetization strategies.
- Henderson and Dusan discussed strategies for discoverability, which remains a key challenge for content creators in a crowded social media landscape, including collaborations, hashtags and spec work to attract brands.
Watch the “Empire State of Mind: Photo Contest Finale” at NAB New York 2023.
At NAB Show New York’s Photo+Video Lab, the spotlight was on creativity, innovation and social collaboration with the announcement of the winner and full contest review of “Empire State of Mind presented by Bamboo.” This first-of-its-kind contest was aimed at finding the next great photographer with a cash prize of $4,000 and a chance to direct a photoshoot on the streets of New York City with social media influencer and expert strategist Avori Henderson.
The winner, Dushawn (Dusan) Jovic, was announced during a session entitled “Empire State of Mind: Photo Contest Finale.” Led by Bamboo founder and CEO Nick Urbom and featuring Jovic and Henderson, the session demonstrated new storytelling techniques blending photography and other visual mediums. It also covered social media tools, providing concrete practices for leveraging photos and videos for social media channels, as well as strategies for content monetization and winning methods for crowd-sourcing photo/video projects.
Bamboo is a mobile app and web-based social platform designed for creators to post collaboratively to monetize their efforts. Urbom, the visionary behind Bamboo, has developed and produced a number of cutting-edge experiences for creators to advance their careers, including tech platforms, professional conferences and awards shows. He was the co-founder, CEO and chairman of Infinity Festival Hollywood, and has co-founded three world-renowned trade organizations: the International 3D Society, the Advanced Imaging Society, and the VR Society.
“This is a $100 billion economy with 200 million people involved and there’s a lot of people looking for tools for how they’re going to grow and advance their careers,” Urbom said of the burgeoning creator economy.
The Bamboo platform was founded as the result of countless conversations with creators about the tools and platforms they utilized, as well as their own personal goals, Urbom said. “We were hearing a lot of feedback from people saying that, ‘hey, listen, we can do stuff for free online, we can do stuff with rev-shares, but it would be really nice if we could actually just run our own business, and if we could create content however we wanted to put it out there.’”
“From what I have seen, only Facebook Groups allows you to take a piece of content and put it in front of people who are interested in that same thing,” says Henderson, who was one of the 12 participants in the 2022 reboot of competition The Mole on Netflix. “Bamboo has built a space where you can create these little categories within your following. The most profitable thing you can do on social media is build a community and that makes you money.”
Collaboration, she notes, “is extremely important on social media, it’s one of the best and fastest ways to grow.”
Originally from Serbia, Jovic currently lives in New York City, bringing a distinctive cinematic style to his craft honed over years of working as a videographer and photographer with creators and brands including Saint Laurent.
“His unique color grading style is described as a candidate and lifestyle cinematic vibe, with a hint of subtle sexiness,” says Henderson, “and what’s wrong with that?”
Jovic acknowledges that collaborations can sometimes be fraught but remains a “big fan” of the synergies they can provide. “As a creative when you hear a word collab, you kind of start twitching,” he says.
“But I feel it has to be beneficial for everybody. When you start, you want to look at collabs as building your portfolio. When you’re already established, you want to look at collabs as it has to be beneficial for everybody. It’s always good to meet new people to create to establish new relationships to help other people because if you’re already established, not everything has to be ‘Okay. How can I get paid?’
“It doesn’t matter how big or small influencer or a brand you are,” he continues, “there’s always something if you’re good with creating, if you’re good with expressing yourself, something good is always going to come out of it.”
These “collabs,” Urbom points out, are called “partnerships” and “deals” in the business world, and “whatever you call it, they’re massively on the uptrend in terms of how brands are looking to partner and get their voice out and get their marketing message out.”
Discoverability in a crowded social media landscape remains a major priority for creators. Hashtags, Henderson and Jovic agreed, are an invaluable resource for creators who are just getting their start. “Hashtags [are] a big, big, big factor,” says Jovic. “Yep, thanks to you, hashtag, I pretty much started my career. And that’s how people usually find me.”
Spec work designed to attract the brands a creator wants to work with is another winning strategy. “When I started doing spec commercials for brands and products and actually posting stuff that is relevant to other brands, that’s where my where my business started growing,” Jovic shares.
“Once you start thinking like your ideal audience is when you start attracting your ideal audience,” Henderson advises. “So really think about your target market where you want to hone in on and then make every piece of content catered towards that.”
Check out the image gallery below to see Jovic’s work on the photoshoot with Avori Henderson, which took place on Little Island, a new public park located in the Hudson River, during NAB Show New York: