Without the use of a camera, people can now collaborate with artificial intelligence systems to generate images in seconds that can simulate photographs, depicting people and places that never existed while transforming our sense of the real. Such systems, including Stability Diffusion, Midjourney, and DALL-E, can produce photorealistic images in response to a text prompt […]
I come from the age of iconic photographs, not that long ago. Certain photographs, often published on the front pages of newspapers, would require that readers pay attention, focus on an issue (frequently a calamitous one such as war, famine, a natural disaster), and focus on it for the first time, or even re-think their […]
In this age of the image, ravaged by a global pandemic, when time and space seem to meld into a muddle and screens displace the world at large, one may ask, “How can we heal from this?” How do we emerge not only from the suffering inflicted by a virulent virus but also from the […]
I had a dream in which I was selecting a single synthetic image of one person who does not exist every day. I was not sure why I would do this, except perhaps to guarantee a new face to ponder, one that does not wear a mask and one that has no past to be […]
All photographs are interpretive and do not show objective reality. They are constructs. A social documentarian must be aware of this and attempt to be as transparent as possible in letting the reader know what strategies were used to make the images.
Twentieth-century photographers, acting as witnesses and interpreters of issues and events, were able at times to provoke widespread discussions resulting in profound societal change. Had they not been able to do so, their coverage of wars, famines, racial injustice and environmental degradation would have verged on the voyeuristic and obscene.
Decisions made by photojournalists and their editors define traumatic events in the cultural consciousness. Throughout coverage of COVID-19, many news outlets have published photographs that reiterate racist tropes, suggest a false gap between “East” and “West,” and fail to engage a fuller range of human efforts to respond to a pandemic…
In the United States, publications that have memorialized mass casualties have mostly concentrated on soldiers. Now, with the pandemic, it is civilians as well…
I began writing this essay before the pandemic, when human life was more certain. I was reflecting on quantum physics in order to reframe photography as a means of delineating possibilities rather than affirming certitudes, as an attempt to choose, in a fractional second, from among many parallel universes…
Columbine Students Are Asking- Will Sharing Photos of the Dead Change our History of Violence? (Time, 2019)
We have long debated when it is appropriate to publish photographs of those who have been killed. When does the news value of the image override the right to the privacy of the dead? And should that right, and the rights of the deceased’s family and friends, ever be overridden?