Artifact Uprising: What Are We Leaving Behind?

UPDATED: February 18, 2017
PUBLISHED: February 18, 2017

We take a lot of pictures these days. It’s estimated that, worldwide, humans will take a record 1.3 trillion digital snapshots in 2017. But rather than being preserved as prints, they disappear into our clouds and hard drives.

As photographers, sisters Jenna Walker and Katie Thurmes understood this. For many years, they ran a successful photography studio in Denver with Jenna’s husband, Matt.

“We knew our clients weren’t printing their photos, and they didn’t like the available options for photo goods,” Jenna says. “As photographers we understood the deep emotional connection we all have to our photos, and we wanted to protect that. We wanted to create things that were meaningful.”

Related: How a Self-Portrait Changed My Life

Therefore, in 2012, when they launched Artifact Uprising, a photo printing and product company, Jenna, Katie and Matt focused on quality and environmental impact rather than volume. Fine-art prints are made using museum-quality printing on archival paper; cards and photo books include the option to print on 100 percent recycled paper; and wooden photo display products are beetle-damaged pine that would have otherwise been scrapped.

The company has seen more than 50 percent compound annual growth since its inception, and its Instagram account has more than half a million followers—five times more than Shutterfly. In 2015 the fast-growing startup was purchased by VSCO, a photo software company and community with a huge following of professional and amateur photographers.


“We are in a time of unprecedented technological change.”


“We are in a time of unprecedented technological change,” Jenna says. “It’s amazing and there are so many benefits, but at some point, technology will evolve again.” What will we carry with us through that evolution?

Related: 5 Tips to Inspire an Innovative Mindset


This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Alison Miller is a North Carolina–based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Southwest: The Magazine, The Local Palate, Our State, Southern Living and others. Contact her at