It has been quite a week in the photography-social media spheres of influence. The licensing debate is heated and sheds light on what is a multifaceted and progressive photo-industry-wide sense of depreciation. Yesterday, on the instagram blog, Mr. Systrom said it plainly “From the start, Instagram was created to become a business.” Over the course of the last decade, the relationship between the business of making photographs and the business of using photographs is increasingly unstable. Few are getting rich making photographs while the Mark Zuckerbergs are getting richer using photographs.
On the other hand, the power of photography and image-making has never been more indisputable, in large part due to these very same social media engines. Jennifer Preston, for the NY Times, said ““[With regards to social media] there is little doubt that they provided a new means for ordinary people to connect with human rights advocates trying to amass support against police abuse, torture…” Arab Spring, some say, was a virtual army that materialized. In this light, photographs on the worldwide web are a currency unto themselves, procuring exposure and change.
Photographer Laura El-Tantawy, a VII Photo mentee, researched the phenomenon of social media’s integral role in Egypt’s revolution through a fellowship at University of Oxford and Reflexions Masterclass. Laura will be giving an artist talk at Gulf Photo Plus on Jan 15 at 7PM, one day after the opening of her new body of work “The Veil.”