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…
- How many picture taking devices are sold world-wide?
- Shaul Schwarz: A photographer finds a new world of expression in film
- World Press Photo 2014 contest: Reflections from the Secretary’s seat
- How photojournalism contributes to change: Marcus Bleasdale’s work on conflict minerals
- Staging Politics: Beyond White House Access, the Photo Op is the Larger Issue
- Documentary Photography in the Age of Anxiety: Fred Ritchin’s “Bending the Frame”
- Changing the conversation about photography
- George Rodger’s lessons for contemporary photojournalism
- Photojournalists on Instagram: a more inclusive list
- Abundant photography: the misleading metaphor of the image flood
- The purpose of photography
- Getting paid in the digital economy
- TFTW #9: Azoulay on the photographic encounter
- TFTW #8: Sekula on photographic meaning
- TFTW #7: Shapiro on photography and representation
- TFTW #6: Azoulay on the image as statement
- TFTW #5: Bolton on photography’s contradictions
- TFTW #4: Barthes on subversive photography
- TFTW #3: Ritchin on hyperphotography
- TFTW #2: Ranciere on representation
- TFTW #1: Foucault on criticism
- Mythical power: Understanding photojournalism in the Vietnam War
- Thinking Images v.26: From Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to Google Images
- Thinking Images v.25: The politics of the individual against the white backdrop
- The difficulty of talking about photography
- Hipstamatic angst, Instagram anxiety: time to move the conversation forward
- Springsteen and storytelling
- Paying for multimedia: MediaStorm’s Pay Per Story scheme
- Photo agencies and ethics: the individual and the collective
- The gun and the camera: an historical relationship
- Being social: photography and engagement today
- The importance of criticism
- Thinking Images v.24: Lu Guang’s activist photography
- Who’s afraid of home? Photojournalism’s foreign fixation
- Debating ‘Who’s afraid of home?’, and the importance of narrative
- Dead or alive? The state of photojournalism
- Photojournalism in the new media economy, Nieman Reports, Spring 2010
- Photojournalism in the age of image abundance, BBC Viewfinder, December 2010
- Photojournalism’s Future, Foam, February 2011
- Has concerned photography a future? Photojournalism, humanitarianism, responsibility
- Photography and narrative: What is involved in telling a story?
- The problem with regarding the photography of suffering as ‘pornography’
- Post-photography: Tim Hetherington’s living legacy
- Vietnam, Afghanistan and the sphere of legitimate aesthetics: developing a critical photographic practice
- Photographic anxiety: should we worry about image abundance?
- Who believes photographs?
- The problem with the dramatic staging of photographs
- This photo is not just what it is: reading the World Press Photo debate
- The myth of compassion fatigue
- Photojournalism and change: voices of humility
- Making documentary possible: How the Internet leads to new funding opportunities
- Grants for new visual stories: who provides them?
- Learning from Larry: what crowd funding photojournalism means and how to do it better
- Learning from Larry, part two: what crowd funding looks like from the donor’s perspective
- Crowd funding photojournalism: how is it going?
- The Libyan Secret Service Archive photographs: the importance of context
- Agencies as publishers: a new approach to photojournalism
“Afterword: Abundant Photography, Discursive Limits and the Work of Images,” in The Versatile Image: Photography, Digital Technologies and the Internet, edited by Alexandra Moschovi, Carol McKay and Arabella Plouviez (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013).
“The flood of images and the performance of rights: The changing function of photojournalism in the new media economy,” in The Flood of Rights, edited by Tom Keenan, Suhail Malik and Tirdad Zolghadr (LUMA Foundation, 2015).
MULTIMEDIA RESEARCH PROJECT
The World Press Photo multimedia research project, supported by the FotografenFederatie (Dutch Photographers Association), is a major statement of the transformations in the visual economy. I was research director for the project, which ran from July 2012 to April 2013 and was conducted under the auspices of the World Press Photo Academy. The project reviewed the global emergence and development of multimedia in visual storytelling, especially photojournalism. The final report – Visual Storytelling in the Age of Post-Industrial Journalism – was presented at a lecture in Amsterdam on 25 April 2013.
The report was previewed in my interview for the Canon Professional Network (April 2013). World Press Photo has a web page for the project. There are five 10-minute video conversations with some of todays leading multimedia producers, who offer their own personal insights into the practice. And I did an interview for DW Akademie on the findings: Visual storytelling and moving beyond ‘multimedia’: Part 1 and Visual storytelling and moving beyond ‘multimedia’: Part 2.
Here you can get the full report, a podcast of the lecture presentation, the slides used in the presentation, as well as links to follow-up posts:
Visual Storytelling in the Age of Post-Industrial Journalism (PDF, 66 pages)
Photo © Michael Kooren/ Koorenphoto.nl
This podcast runs for 60 minutes, and the lecture follows a 3 minute introduction by Maarten Koets, Deputy Managing Director of World Press Photo.
Here are the slides (PDF, 16 pages) used in the presentation.
Follow up posts and interviews
The aim of these posts is to highlight aspects of the report, and keep the conversation going:
- ‘Multimedia’, photojournalism and visual storytelling
- Learning to COPE: Multimedia freelancing in the new media economy
- Disruption and the new ecology of information
- Newspapers, advertising and the Internet: How journalism has always been subsidised
- The primacy of the screen
- The global spread of mobile technology and what it means for visual storytelling
- Digital and the desire for long form journalism
- Scarcity, abundance and value: the economics of digital culture
- World Press Photo multimedia research project: video interview
My thoughts on a lot of these topics were aired in an interview I did for a BBC World Service documentary on Media Futures, especially part IV on the Internet, which you can listen to here:
PHOTOGRAPHY INTERVIEW, COLGATE UNIVERSITY
During my time at Colgate University in Spring 2012 I was interviewed by Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst about my research in photography:
Top photo credit: Leica IA 1925, by Alessia Glaviano.
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