View a recording of this event.

Join us for a discussion about the challenges Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other “democratizing” social media platforms pose to photojournalists’ authority. What defenses are there against this dispersal of cultural authority? Are there strategies available for the professional photojournalists to embrace it? How is the authority of the image itself undergoing transformation?


  • Sheila Pree Bright
  • Ed Kashi
  • Fred Ritchin (moderator)
  • Danny Wilcox Frazier
  • Deborah Willis


Sheila Pree Bright is an acclaimed fine-art photographer known for her photographic series Young Americans, Plastic Bodies, and Suburbia. She received national attention shortly after earning her MFA in Photography from Georgia State University, and is described in the art world as a cultural anthropologist portraying large-scale works that combine a wide-range of contemporary culture.

In recent years Bright has documented responses to police shooting in Atlanta, Ferguson, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. She observed young social activists taking a stand against the same struggles their parents and grandparents endured during the era of Jim Crow. In 2013 while photographing under-recognized living leaders of the Civil Rights movement, she made a connection between today’s times and the climate of the 1960s that inspired her #1960Now project.

Bright’s current and most ambitious project to date, #1960Now examines race, gender, and generational divides to raise awareness of millennial perspectives on civil and human rights. #1960Now is a photographic portrait series of emerging young leaders affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Bright’s work is included in the book and exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture (Deborah Willis, W. W. Norton, 2009). Bright’s photographs appeared in the 2014 feature-length documentary “Through the Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” (Director: Thomas Allen Harris). Venues that featured her work include the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, Washington, DC; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; FotoFest, Houston; and the Leica Gallery in New York. She is the recipient of several awards including the Santa Fe Prize (2006), and her work is included in numerous private and public collections.

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker, speaker, and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. A member of VII Photo Agency since 2010, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition. In addition to editorial assignments, filmmaking, and personal projects, Kashi is an educator and mentor to students of photography and an active participant in forums and lectures on photojournalism, documentary photography, and multimedia. His early adoption of hybrid visual storytelling has produced a number of influential short films. His work has garnered numerous awards from World Press, Pictures of the Year International, and UNICEF Photo of the Year, and he has published seven books of his photography.

In 2002, Kashi in partnership with his wife, writer and filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media. The non-profit company has produced numerous award-winning short films, exhibits, books & multimedia pieces exploring significant social issues.

Fred Ritchin, moderator, is Dean of the ICP School, which serves more than 5,000 students each year in graduate, certificate, continuing education, and youth photography programs. Ritchin was also the founding director of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the ICP School, and was appointed dean in 2014. Prior to joining ICP, Fred Ritchin was professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and co-director of the NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights educational program. Previously the picture editor of The New York Times Magazine (1978–82), executive editor of Camera Arts magazine (1982–83), and founding director of the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography (1983–86), Ritchin has written and lectured internationally about the challenges and possibilities implicit in the digital revolution.

Danny Wilcox Frazier, a documentary photographer and filmmaker, focuses his work on marginalized communities both in and outside of the United States. Frazier has photographed people struggling to survive the economic shift that has devastated rural communities throughout America, including in his home state of Iowa. His work acknowledges isolation and neglect while also celebrating perseverance and strength. Frazier is a member of VII Photo.

With his photographs from Iowa, Frazier documented those individuals continuing to live traditional lives in rural communities across the state, people challenged economically but often unwavering in their conviction to stay. The project was awarded the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize and was published by CDS and Duke University Press in November 2007. Renowned photographer Robert Frank selected Frazier’s work for the prize. After completing the book (Driftless: Photographs from Iowa), Frazier directed and coproduced with MediaStorm a documentary that confronts issues highlighted by his photographs. The film has received national recognition including an Emmy nomination in New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming.

Frazier’s assignment work includes publication in Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Time, GEO (Germany), GQ (UK), Mother Jones, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine (London), Newsweek, Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Der Spiegel. In print, features on his photographs and films include Hungry Eye Magazine (UK), The New York Times (USA), Photo-Eye (USA), Photo Raw (Finland), LFI (Germany), Rear View Mirror magazine (Italy), Photo District News (USA), B&W Magazine (UK), Take Photography Magazine (Australia), Duke Magazine (USA), The Trip (Italy), and Virginia Quarterly Review (USA).

Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural, Africana Studies, where she teaches courses on Photography & Imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation; contemporary women photographers and beauty.  

She received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and was a Richard D. Cohen Fellow in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, and an Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Fellow. She has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture.

Event Hashtags


TOP IMAGE: © Mark Davis