Campaign Visuals In the Age of Facebook

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.

_ 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.