Lesson 6: The Modern Visual Ecosystem
The Modern Visual Ecosystem
On Sunday, November 8, 2015, the New York Times thudded onto the porches of subscribers with a cardboard box stuffed inside the bag. With a little folding and a little imagination, the box wasn't so different from the stereoscopic image viewers Michael Lesy demonstrated in Lesson 1.
But this cardboard box was no antique. Paired with a smartphone and a free app, the box became a virtual reality headset that took viewers on an immersive video trip into the lives of three young refugees. From your living room, you could look up at the sky over a Lebanese refugee camp or down at a swamp in the South Sudan. Wired magazine wrote that the story likely "hooked a generation" on virtual reality.
For photojournalists, new technologies and storytelling approaches are par for the course. The 21st century has been a blur of changes for the visual world. The year 2000 marked the adoption of digital SLR cameras like the Nikon D1 at many news outlets; in 2006, Facebook opened up to anyone older than 13; in 2007, the iPhone debuted with a quality built-in camera, and in 2010, Instagram was founded. Humans of New York, a portrait project maintained by an ex-bond trader on Facebook, today has more likes than Life Magazine ever had subscribers. It's a new visual world.