Preserving Black legacy through a digital platform for archival imagery

Obsidian Collection Archives

Image Marketplace


Obsidian Collection Archives needed a powerful e-commerce platform that allows users to upload, search, and license image assets.


Our team delivered a Ruby on Rails platform in about 20 weeks, including the ability to upload tens of thousands of images at once, search the full library, and complete a license purchase.


The full-featured website incorporates their design and branding, and meets their needs much closer than an off-the-shelf system—both today and as they grow in the future.

Obsidian Collection Archives is a Chicago-based, Black-operated nonprofit organization that aspires to build “today’s modern Griot of Black stories.” They needed an online marketplace and community center to serve as a centralized source of information and assets, and connect those who created the information and images with those who want to use and share them.

Developing a Platform for Community

We developed a Ruby on Rails platform that allows users to upload potentially tens of thousands of images at one time. Among other core features, we implemented search, tagging, and a complete payment flow. We also created a design system centered around accessibility, reusability, and ease of maintainability.

Knowing that accessibility for images on the web begins here at the source of images, it was important to make sure we implemented the website in a screen-reader friendly, keyboard-navigable platform.

Creating a Marketplace

Obsidian Collection Archives allows users to upload and discover Black history through Black image archives from around the country, and soon the world.

The innovative platform also helps funnel the majority of licensing fees to the artists and photographers themselves through flexible image licensing agreements.

Our team was able to create a full-featured website—incorporating their design and branding—in about 20 weeks. This platform meets their needs much closer than an off-the-shelf system (i.e. Squarespace or Shopify), and provides flexibility that will set them up for success well into the future.

We are very pleased with the Software and App Product created by 8th Light. The collaborative process was essential to communicating our goals and learning what was indeed possible. I’m thrilled we now have a platform that can grow and expand into the future.

Angela Ford, Founder and Executive Director for The Obsidian Collection Archives

Let’s work together

Get in touch

Get in touch