15 February 2019
From Ways of Seeing Algorithmically, an ongoing reworking of John Berger’s 1972 book Ways of Seeing.

Outside of my photographic work my current research looks at the implications of automated and artificially intelligent software systems on the field of visual journalism. Written journalism has been increasingly automated over the last five years with companies and titles including Reuters, the LA Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, Associated Press, Forbes, BBC News, and The New York Times employing automated software systems of varying sophistication to complete tasks ranging from the banal to the relatively creative. By contrast these technologies are only just starting to make themselves felt in the field of visual journalism, partly as a result of technological challenges and the insouciance of the industry itself.

The fact that the use of automation lags behind in visual journalism presents a unique opportunity to anticipate the use of these technologies and the consequences. My research considers what functions these software systems might perform as they become more sophisticated and widespread, what impact they might have on the landscape of visual journalism industry, and on the wider societal perception of it. Along the way I am engaging with issues of algorithmic transparency, photographic representation, the politics of archives, the accelerating speed of photography, and the function and purpose of photojournalism in modern democracies.

Ultimately the aim is that the research will help to shape the development of policies and regulations around these technologies which will help to maximise their beneficial potential for visual journalism, while minimising the considerable risks they pose to a field already battered by economic upsets and public mistrust.