Transforming the visual economy

Photography is a technology through which the world is visually performed, and we are seeing major transformations in both the visual economy and our understanding of the world. The new media economy has expanded our understanding of “the photographic,” such that “photography” includes all images, whether amateur or professional, still or moving, lens-based or computational. Imaging devices have proliferated with the rise of smartphones, video-enabled DSLRs, GoPros, drones, Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and more. I analyse the visual practices that contribute to visual storytelling in this context, including documentary or editorial photography, mobile imaging, photojournalism, video journalism, and satellite imagery. The pictures they produce are not isolated or discrete objects, and have to be understood as being part of networks of materials, technologies, institutions, markets, social spaces, emotions, cultural histories and political contexts. These writings explore the changes in the way images are produced, distributed, consumed, their effects, how we should read them, and how compelling visual stories can be constructed…


Photo manipulation and verification

The manipulation of images poses a challenge for the credibility of photography that documents events and issues. What is the current practice, and what are the accepted standards internationally, when it comes to the manipulation of still images in photojournalism? In May 2014 I was commissioned by the World Press Photo Academy to conduct research on “The Integrity of the Image”, to assess contemporary industry standards worldwide. The report of my findings was published in November 2014, and builds on earlier discussion at the 2014 World Press Photo Awards Days in Amsterdam, as well as changes to the World Press Photo Contest.

Reading images of atrocity, conflict, war

How has atrocity, conflict and war been pictured? What are the effects of particular images? How can we develop alternative visual accounts of violence? We need to appreciate that atrocity, conflict and war is an event that does not exist without visualisation, and visualisation has increasingly become a part of atrocity, conflict and war. From Vietnam, to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Congo, Sudan, Libya, Gaza, and the war on terror, I’ve been reading images in context, analysing the stereotypes they sometimes repeat, the implications of embedded reporting, the role of new imaging practices and technologies, and the power of visual stories to move people…

Disruption in the media economy

The global media economy is undergoing profound transformations. Hastened by the disruptive power of the Internet, we are witnessing the disaggregation of traditional news and documentary forms. Audiences for online platforms, digital formats and mobile content are growing, and the appetite for news and information is increasing. Yet the circulation of established newspapers and magazines is declining. Fuelled by the imploding print advertising market, that decline has crippled economic support for new visual stories. At the same time, new media startups offer different venues for publication, traditional media companies have begun to use new formats for reporting and storytelling, and corporations and NGOs have become their own media producers. The people formerly known as the audience have also embraced the ease of digital technologies to make and share their own content globally. These articles analyse these transformation and their effects…

Producing multimedia

With audio and editing skills, my collaborative multimedia productions include The Boarding House, Living in the Shadows, and the twelve part series Laygate Stories. I filmed and produced Home, a video account of asylum seekers and refugees, and with my DJ Clark and Sharron Lovell I co-host and produce the Multimedia Week podcast.

Rethinking international relations

How do identity, security and war affect the boundaries and possibilities of politics? If we move from treating states as pre-given subjects to a concern with the problematic of subjectivity, we can examine how the interpretation of danger, foreign policy, media representations, and photographic documentation all help to constitute states, political communities and social identities. These issues are examined in my writing on Bosnia, Iraq, and United States foreign policy.

Representing ‘Africa’

How has ‘Africa’ been represented visually? What is the visual story that needs to be told about Africa? Is there a pictorial strategy that can account for one billion people, in 54 countries, speaking two thousand languages, embodying multiple cultures and numerous ethnicities, with manifold intersections with our globalised world? Would we even ask that question of the Americas, Asia or Europe? I’ve examined colonial relations of power that distill a complex, hybrid place into visual stereotypes, as well as exploring some of the alternatives…