Fairphone - An Idea Worth Spreading!

Fairphone started in 2010 as a project of Waag society, Action Aid and Schrijf-Schrijf, aimed at raising awareness about conflict minerals in electronics and the wars that the sourcing of these minerals is fueling in the DR Congo. The campaign and research into the complex supply chain ran for 3 years. In 2013, they established Fairphone as a social enterprise with the aim of designing, creating and producing a smartphone and taking the next crucial step in uncovering the story behind the sourcing, production, distribution and recycling of electronics.

Already the campaign is spreading around the world in media such as The Guardian, Financial Times, Huffington Post, The Verge, Computerworld, Svenska Dagbladet and Der Spiegel. The plan is to manufacture 20.000 phones in the first batch and as of today 11,868 people have preorded one. Of course, they use smart story-telling techniques to get their message through. Which is probably one of the reasons Fairphone has been picked up by TEDx Amsterdam.

It can be argued that given the vast amount of components in an advanced electronic device it is impossible to develop a phone that is completely fair from a people-planet-profit perspective. However, I think Fairphone is definitely a big step in the right direction. Not only do they focus on sourcing material from non-conflict countries, worker welfare and the product life-cycle, but they also try to make it last longer by using an open technical design. In addition, the pricing is transparent. It is also an interesting example of social enterprising. Simply an idea worth spreading!


Pictures Don't Lie?

Recently I visited the Fotografiska museum in Stockholm. The major exhibition was Ruud van Empel's "Pictures Don't Lie" with stunning although eerie pictures. This is how the museum describes his work:
"From hundreds of photographic fragments, he compiles images that are genuinely lifelike in their appearance but conjure up a world that has never existed in this form. This paradisaical world is primarily populated by children, as the symbol of innocence, which is one of the major themes of his work. Despite their astounding beauty, these works are far from unequivocal, there is something not quite right: what is real here and what is not?" 

Even as an amateur photographer, you need to decide to what extent you want to manipulate your pictures. With a vast array of tools you have all kinds of options, from Picasa to Photoshop and beyond. Since the camera and you do not record the same image, is it really to change the picture if you want to enhance the blue in the sky afterward so it becomes the colour you remember it "really" was?

However, already in choosing motives and angles we add our opinion to the picture. So maybe the questions is not whether a picture can lie but who's story it tells? Which story do you want to tell?


And the Winner Is...

It took some time for me to get organised this year, but now we finally have a winner in the photo competition. My colleague Thomas Houze helped me with the lottery and the name he drew was my friend Mia Hillevärn from Jönköping. My sister Maria helped me deliver the flowers at a meeting which added to the surprise :-)

This year no clear winner could be seen among the photos though. Thank you so much for participating in my little competition! I hope it brought you some nice moments! It certainly did for me!