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The Making of a Meme

#sxsw #photomeme

From Instagram to LOL Cats to Tumblr, few things on the Internet are more tempting than a picture with a sense of humor or a vintage filter. With more content sharing platforms available than ever before, the ability to share, manipulate and copy images without permission or credit has nearly become status quo. How can traditional photography survive in an Internet world? How can paid professional photographers or content creators get the credit they deserve for their work? When does an Internet meme become bigger than copyright? With a blend of traditional photography experts and Internet enthusiasts, this panel will discuss the development of one photography meme – Texts from Hillary — and how the worlds of the State Department, Time Magazine and Tumblr collided. The panel will also discuss how the culture of filtered photos, re-blogging and beyond can change how we tell visual stories.



In 2012, Adam was the co-creator of the popular Tumblr, Texts from Hillary, For his day job, he is the Communications Director of Public Campaign, a national nonprofit campaign finance reform nonprofit. He oversees all areas of communications, including online advocacy, web development, materials development, and media relations. In addition, he provides strategic advice, support, and on-the-ground assistance to Public Campaign’s state partner organizations across the country. Adam is a graduate of Elon University in North Carolina and lives in Washington, D.C.

Diana Walker Photojournalist TIME Inc

Photographer Diana Walker was a contract photographer for Time magazine for many years. She served as one of Time’s two White House photographers during the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. She covered the campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, specializing in her behind the scenes black and white images.

Walker has done two books of her photographs with National Geographic Books: THE BIGGER PICTURE: 30 Years of Portraits, Foreword by Ann Tyler (2007), and PUBLIC & PRIVATE: Twenty Years Photographing the Presidency, Foreword by Michael Beschloss (2002). Her work covering the presidency has also been reproduced in many top European magazines, including Paris Match, Stern and the London Sunday Times. She has done many features over the years for People magazine, The Washingtonian, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine, and The Village Voice. Many of Walker’s images of Steve Jobs, taken over a twenty-year span for TIME, are featured in the biography STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson.

Walker has won numerous awards from World Press, the White House News Photographers Association, and the National Press Photographers Association. She received the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s 2003 Paul Peck Award for her interpretation and portrayal of the Presidency. Her photographs are in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, which honored her with a retrospective of her work, “Diana Walker/Photojournalist” in 2003. An exhibition from that retrospective toured the country from 2003-2009 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibit Service. Diana Walker’s archive resides at the Dolph Sid Briscoe Center for American History, the University of Texas at Austin. In 2012 she was awarded by Time, Inc. the Henry Luce Life Achievement Award.

Diana Walker has collaborated with author Elise Lufkin on her three well-known books about the joys of adopting dogs, FOUND DOGS, (1999), SECOND CHANCES (2003) and TO THE RESCUE (2009). Walker is represented by the Addison Ripley Gallery in Washington and in New York by the Howard Greenberg Gallery. She and her husband Mallory live in Washington DC. Although she accepts very few assignments now, over the last few years Walker has been documenting the Prop 8 case in California for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, supporters of the case of the plaintiffs. She followed Secretary Hillary Clinton on a trip abroad in October, 2011 for a TIME cover story. It was on this trip that Walker took the picture of Secretary Clinton as she consulted her Blackberry on a C-17 cargo plane, on the way to Libya, which will be discussed by the panel at SXSW.

Kira Pollack Dir of Photography Time Magazine

Kira Pollack is the Director of Photography at TIME Magazine where she oversees the photographic vision of TIME, and all digital media. In October 2011, she was named the photo editor of the year at the Lucie Awards. Since Pollack joined TIME in October 2009, the brand’s photography has been recognized with many prestigious awards including the World Press photo of the Year, and the Visa D’Or award at Visa Pour l’Image. In March 2011, she established TIME’s photography site LightBox, which is dedicated to the culture of images and provides a forum for conversation on photography. Pollack also spearheaded TIME’s Beyond 9/11 project, which was awarded an Emmy in October. The 9/11 project included 40 portraits coupled with oral histories, a special commemorative issue, microsite, documentary in association with HBO and gallery exhibition. Previously, Pollack was the deputy photo editor for the New York Times Magazine. During her 11-year tenure, she produced the Oscars portfolio from 2004-2009 and Obama’s people in 2009 under Kathy Ryan. She was also the photo editor of Play, the Times’ sports magazine. Prior to The New York Times Magazine, Pollack was an associate photo editor at The New Yorker from 2004-2008. Pollack lives in the financial district in New York City.

Stacy Lambe Freelancer BuzzFeed

Stacy Lambe joined BuzzFeed in May 2012 and was named the Managing Editor of the site's LGBT section. He currently is a freelance blogger. He joined BuzzFeed following the success of the Tumblr, "Texts From Hillary." The meme was listed among the best of 2012 by BuzzFeed, TIME, Washington Post and People, among others. A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in public relations, Stacy previously worked for Tigercomm, a leading cleantech PR, marketing communications and public affairs firm in Washington, D.C., and Development Counsellors International, the leader in marketing places based in New York City. Lambe has appeared on Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien and Current TV.