National Geographic : 2013 Oct
Visual VIllage 161 show the world what they are up against, making it increasingly difficult for regimes to hide their actions. If everyone has a camera, Big Brother isn’t the only one watching. Who knows, this fanatical documentation and hyperconnection could lead to a profound shift in our way of being. Perhaps we are witnessing the development of a universal visual language, one that could change the way we relate to each other and the world. Of course, as with any lan- guage, there will be those who produce poetry and those who compile shopping lists. It’s not clear whether this flowering of image- making will lead to a more visually literate public—or simply numb us to the profound ef- fects a well-made image can have. But the change is irreversible. Let’s hope the millions of new pho- tographs made today help us see what we all have in common, rather than what sets us apart. j Michael Christopher Brown, China, 2010 An early adopter of the camera phone as a photojournalism tool, Brown likes the way it allows him to blend in, especially in places where it’s best to be inconspicuous. His iPhone work from Libya and other geopolitical hot spots has been published worldwide. James Estrin is the co-editor of Lens, the New York Times photography blog.