Photography’s impact on society doesn’t come down to single, striking images like it once did. Instead, the power today comes from conversations: What we talked about in 2014 often began with pictures and videos that were seen and shared over and over again.
It did not matter whether the images came from skilled photojournalists or witnesses with cellphones. Consider that Instagram alone churns out 70 million images a day. From that sea of imagery, a collective and comprehensive body of work emerged. We subconsciously curated those images based on our own experiences and attitudes — and maybe even grew a little in the process.
While you’re snapping a pic of your lunch to share over Instagram, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, are using the same app to upload videos of journalists getting arrested.
Social media has been credited with lighting a fire under the story of the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in this St. Louis suburb. The news of roiling protests reached the Gaza strip, where people there hit Twitter sharing tips on what to do when you’ve been tear gassed.