Computational Photojournalism: The implications of digital automation and artificial intelligence for visual journalism.
My research examines forms of digital automation including artificial intelligence are seen to be rapidly reshaping a wide variety of fields, including prose journalism where a growing array of software systems are being deployed to aid journalists in their work. The attraction of these systems for media organisations is clear in an environment where speed is a priority, budgets are tight, and where reader personalisation is of increasing importance. These technologies appear able to meet many of these challenges. By contrast, photojournalism has not experienced automation to anything like the same degree, but there is mounting interest in the roles that these technologies could play, and the impact their use could have on understandings of what photojournalism is for.
My research takes this as a critical moment to explore the conversations and ideas that will shape the development and deployment of these technologies on picture desks and beyond them. Consequently, I am interested in how photojournalism professionals understand both their practices and these technologies, and how far these understandings align with the larger strategic aims of major media organisations. At the root of this research is an interest in technologies as sites of struggles over power and meaning, and as things which are both socially shaped, but which also have potentially profound effects on the same societies that give rise to them.
Lewis studied history at the University of Warwick, worked for the World Health Organisation, and then studied documentary photography at the University of the Arts London. Since 2012 he has developed a photographic practice which combines intensive research with experimental visual approaches, both focused towards the goal of visualising forms of power in contemporary society.
Past projects have focused on issues ranging from the destructive impact of property speculation and redevelopment on his home city of London, to the systemic inequalities of the art world, the hitherto unknown geographies of intelligence communications networks and the cultures surrounding and supporting offshore finance. He is currently in the final stages of a project which critically re-examines the origins of modern rocketry during the Second World War, and explores the extent to which the military logics of this formative period persist in subtle ways in the culture and technologies of contemporary space exploration.
Lewis’s projects have received numerous accolades and commendations, and his books and prints are held in private and institutional collections including the Tate group, The Museum of London, and The Victoria & Albert Museum. He also has written extensively on photography and photojournalism for a wide range of specialist and non-specialist publications, including Frieze, Wired, Dezeen, Vice, World Press Photo Witness, 1000 Words Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, Photomonitor, and Hyperallergic.
Supervisors: Dr Dylan Mulvin & Professor Lilie Chouliaraki