Why you should care
What’s a good meal without a little spice? This Thanksgiving we are grateful for a jarring Instagram activist, a rabble-rousing photo critic, and a potty-mouthed Twitter personality.
We’re bombarded by photos that try to convince us of certain points of view: Michael Shaw wants to give us the tools to unpack them, and he’s not afraid to take on the biggest names in media to do it. Shaw is the publisher of BagNews, a blog focusing on “visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.” The 56-year-old is a clinical psychologist whose research has focused on visual thinking, the analysis of characters and how metaphors can provide psychological insight.
“We live in a hypervisual society and also in a society where there’s a lot of persuasion, a lot of bias and interest behind certain imagery,” he says. He has criticized the Obama administration for years, for what he and many other photojournalists consider an aggressive censorship of White House images.
Brooklyn-based Jamaican photographer Radcliffe Roye has an iPhone and he’s not afraid to use it … to jar you out of your social media stupor. Roye is a street photographer who takes multiple portraits of the people he meets on a daily basis, passes them through filters on his iPhone and publishes them to 27,604 followers.
His heavily processed portraits are intimate, soulful portrayals of humanity, but just as important as his compositional skills are the people he chooses as his subjects. Roye focuses on the underclass — the poor, the disabled, the homeless.
Frank Lowe tweets about being a full-time father — er, a “gay-at-home dad” — and with a Twitter persona far campier than his IRL one, Lowe’s amassed a following of more than 56,000. Some sub-140-character gems include “Some playground kid said to my son ‘HEY WHITE SHIRT, IT’S YOUR TURN!’ And without missing a beat, he turned around and said, ‘It’s CREAM.’” Also: “Got drunk last night and bedazzled all of my son’s Hot Wheels.”
Little wonder that comedians, LGBT advocates and others go ga-ga. But how to tell truth from fiction? “If it could have happened, or it’s heartwarming, it’s probably true,” Lowe says.