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Making Sense of the Future of Photos

Apr 24, 2014

Credit Asher Svidensky

Plenty of people share photos on the internet.       

Plenty of those photos go viral.

But few viral photos are as stunning as the ones published by BBC magazine of Mongolia's first female eagle hunter. See some of the photos here.

But with the proliferation of iPhone pet photos and news organizations firing whole photography departments, is this kind of photography doomed or poised to take a new leap with internet exposure?

Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project says, "Well, there is certainly less money to fund these kinds of expeditions. But, nowadays in the social media world, these photos have been republished by dozens and dozens of organizations and bloggers. There was a blog called 'Lost at E Minor' and they published these photos under the headlines, '13-Year Old Mongolian Girl Hunts with Eagle. Has Coolest Childhood Ever.' The interesting thing about that is they've taken this story and made it about us... that's really about how I interpret the photos and not necessarily about the subjects themselves. So it's interesting how the social media world has taken this story and changed it to be about the audience."

Does the reaction to these photos online mean a brighter future for these kinds of professional photos -- even in an environment where professional photographers are being de-emphasized?

"I think we are less likely to see photos like this in the future," said McBride. "It's a shame, because the reason these photos are so powerful is we can't stop looking at them. They are gorgeous. But there's another photographer out there. His name is Brandon Stanton and he run a blog called 'The Humans of New York.' He went to New York with the goal of shooting 10,ooo photographs in a year. But his photography is distinctly different from the photography of the eagle hunters, and I think we're more likely to see blog photography than we are this distinct, interesting magazine photography."