A quick Google search indicates that as many as 75% of the world population own a mobile phone, can some of the resulting images captured by these phones and uploaded to social media sites be classed as documentary? Are they and should they be considered valid documents? Digital media has transformed the definition of documentary photography. Viewing on-line is a different experience to looking at a physical print and can reach a much wider audience.
Professional photojournalist Benjamin Lowy initially began to use an iPhone as “an artistic outlet” , to be free from the constraints of the daily workflow involved with his work. His “outlet” developed into a more serious use of his phone to record conflict in war zones.
However along with the growth of the internet and social media sites comes daily bombardment of millions of images . Lowy embraced new technology creating original images that are distinctive and far from mediocre: an important asset to help them stand out amongst the masses. I like the richly saturated images and find them extremely eye-catching even though the subject matter is serious, they demand attention.
Lowy believes the ready availability of imagery on these sites can be used as a “showcase” for good photography and reach a large audience. However he also believes it has led to a decline of quality in an attempt to gain the most followers which I agree is a valid point.
Lowy has decided the time has now come to slow down and take less images. I look forward to seeing how he proceeds.