Stephen Ferry is a freelance documentary photographer based in
New York City and Bogotá, Colombia. Ferry's work has received numerous
prizes and honors, including two World Press photo awards. In more than
20 years of international travel, Ferry has concentrated on long-term
reportage on issues of historic change and human rights. His 1999 book, I Am Rich Potosí: The Mountain that Eats Men (Monacelli
Press), documented the lives of silver miners in Potosí, Bolivia, over
an eight-year period. Since 2000, Ferry has focused his work on
Colombia, carrying out assignments for GEO, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and The New York Times.
He is currently based in Bogotá and is dedicated to long-term coverage
of Colombia's civil war. In this Q&A with guest columnist Michael Shaw, he discuss his image (shown
here) taken January 7 at a campaign stop in Rochester, New Hampshire.
Michael Shaw: Given the range of campaign images
I've been looking at lately, this one you made the other weekend, just
before the New Hampshire primary, is substantially different. This has
a completely different kind of energy.
Stephen Ferry: It seems a little funny talking
about my own work this way, but of all the photos I shot in New
Hampshire, I think this one speaks to something new and essential going
on. Although Obama was the subject, it says less about him than about
this social moment in time. Specifically, it seems to me there's a
"Facebook zeitgeist" in this campaign.
MS: What do you mean?
SF: First of all, it's about equalizing. Notice how
his smile and her smile are lit by the same kind of light. Both are
subject to the same cameras that are in everybody's hands nowadays.
That, to me, speaks to the Facebook experience. Once they are posted
there, all photographs are equal on Facebook. The only way they differ
in importance has to do with how many people connect to them.