An essay by ACT lecturer Lara Baladi has recently been published in The Screen Media Reader: Culture, Theory, Practice, edited by Stephen Monteiro (Bloomsbury, 2017).


[In recent years], as cameras made their way into mobile phones (smart or not), webcams were embedded in laptop and desktop screens and people uploaded millions of images to social media sites, the global democratization of photography took on a new dimension. With the emergence of social media, mass media lost even more ground on the distribution of information. Social media, in which the user could participate in the process of selecting and distributing information and make images instantaneously available worldwide, overshadowed traditional visual media. It competed with mainstream media, thus further sharing the power by shifting the hands holding it. “The power of letters and the power of pictures distribute themselves and evaporate into the social media such that it becomes possible for everyone to act instead of simply being represented,” observed the influential media artist and theorist Peter Weibel, in a recent article, ‘Power to the People: Images by the People.’”


Image: Protesters during a speech in Tahrir Square, April 8, 2011. Photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy. © Mosa’ab Elshamy. Shared courtesy of Lara Baladi.