best TED talks

The Best TED Talks About Photography You Must See Right Now

Having been going on a regular basis since 1990, the TED series of conferences have always been a hotbed of inspirational and groundbreaking ideas but it is only in the last decade that they’ve been made available to freely view online.

While the core subject matter of early TED talks have centered around technology and design, we’ve since seen a number of superb talks on wide-ranging topics. Photography is no exception, and if you’re a student at photography school or simply have a deep interest in the medium, there are talks that deserved to be filed under ‘must-watch’.

Between the official TED Talks about photography and the hidden gems hosted at TEDx events around the globe, scroll on as we introduce:

The Best TED Talks About Photography

Nick Veasy: Exposing the Invisible

For 99% of people practicing the craft, photography is all about how best to capture and reproduce what we see in the world around us with our own eyes…

… but what about the stuff we can’t see?

Nick Veasey has set about the unenviably difficult task of doing just that – producing photos using highly technical x-ray equipment and techniques to tease out images that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see. His work is as imaginative as it is varied; from the inner workings of massive objects such as aircraft to the intricate geometry of plant life, the resulting photography (and the methods behind it) is guaranteed to amaze.

David Griffin: How Photography Connects Us

“Let’s just start by looking at some great photographs.”

As so begins one of the most frequently shared TED Talks about photography that has ever been produced, and also the single video which we urge anyone to watch if they’re struggling to understand why photography is so important in the modern age. Incredible photography and deep insight, combined with Griffin’s knack for pulling on the heartstrings and getting to the emotional core of what the art form is all about.

Johnathan Klein: Photos that Changed the World

Every now and then – maybe a decade or so, sometimes more – a single photograph will come along that tangibly changes the way we look at the world.

From the serenely beautiful such as the first ever image of the Earth rising above the moon’s horizon to the harrowing scenes of 9/11 captured on film, Jonathan Klein’s TED talk leads us on a tour of the most iconic and influential photographs ever taken. In his capacity as co-founder of Getty Images, he speaks here with great eloquence on the hows and whys of why these images moved us as a species.

 Paul Nicklen: Tales of Ice-Bound Wonderlands

As photographers, we’re sometimes lucky enough to be sent to exotic locations on interesting assignments. Occasionally, the nature of the photo shoot can be both dangerous and fascinating…

… how about being submerged in subzero waters beneath thick ice, trying to get a shot of an aggressive leopard seal on its own territory?

Nicklen’s TED Talk about photography work as rare as this is precisely as interesting as it sounds. As a polar specialist, he has more than a few great stories to share and does so with great humor. Absolutely essential viewing for budding wildlife and/or nature photographers.

iO Tillett Wright: Fifty Shades of Gay

Part exploratory, part activism, and wholly brilliant – Wright’s photography project, Self Evident Truths,  has to date involved photographing over 8,000 Americans in over 30 cities, and as a collective whole creates a cross section of the LBGTQ spectrum across the country. The NYC writer, actor and photographer uses this project as the center point of her TED talk, around which she candidly shares her own story as well as what Self Evident Truths means for all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation.

Wright’s photography demonstrates the power the medium has to raise social questions and hold a mirror up to ourselves in an effort to promote equality.

James Nachtwey: My Photographs Bear Witness

No list of the best TED Talks about photography would be complete without featuring James Nachtwey’s acceptance speech which he delivered on receiving the 2007 TED prize.

It’s one of the most powerful speeches about photography ever given, and after watching him talk about his journey so far as a war photographer, you’ll no doubt agree that he deserved the standing ovation he rightfully received at the end of the talk.

Know of any more great TED Talks about photography (or a related topic) that we might have missed? Help the community out by leaving your suggestions in the comments below, and let’s get some inspiration flowing!

The Top 6 TED Talks On The Topic Of Journalism

It’s an exciting time for not just broadcast journalism but for the very concept of journalism itself as technological advancements, arguably like never before, push the industry into new frontiers.

In particular, the field has really opened up to amateur broadcasters who are, in a significant number of cases, amassing a considerable audience despite budgetary and production constraints.

Broadcast journalism school remains the best method of taking a career in the field to the next level, but there are plenty of useful resources to boost learning in the mean time. One such resource is TED, the famously excellent host of keynote speeches in a variety of genres…

… here are the ones which will be of most interest to broadcast journalists.

Best TED Talks on Journalism

Markham Nolan: How to Tell the Difference Between Fact and Fiction

Who: Former freelance journalist, later managing editor of Storyful and Vocativ.

What: Nolan’s posing of what seems like a simple question serves as a springboard to address what has become a rather tricky prospect in broadcast journalism.

Why: Accuracy and information verification is central to most journalism duties. For those baffled as to how best to sift through the modern deluge, Nolan’s talk is for you.

Paul Lewis: Crowdsourcing the News

Who: British award-winning investigative journalist.

What: A TEDx talk on the implications of modern citizen journalism, in which everyday people have the ability to produce and generate their own news and what this means for the conventional journalist.

Why: Paul Lewis’ much lauded work includes exposing the unlawful death of a protester, Ian Tomlinson, at the hands of security guards in London. It was an incredible piece of investigative journalism and a victory for civil liberty. For this alone it’s always worth hearing Lewis’ insight on the topic.

Simon Rogers: Data Journalists are the New Punks

Who: San Francisco-based data journalist for the Guardian.

What: Exactly what is data journalism? Simon Rogers explains how numbers can fill in the blanks around stories, and more often than not, can give rise to very different angles entirely to familiar stories.

Why: Beautifully illustrated, Rogers’ ranks among the most practical TED talks on journalism given that he successfully sums up how everyone can strengthen the bond between words and numbers to become better journalists…even those who are terrified of math.

Ted Rosenteil: The Future of Journalism

Who: Author, journalist, media critic, and executive director of the American Press Institute.

What: “New technology has fundamentally dissolved the old system for financing news,” declares Rosenteil, who goes on to paint a picture of the current journalism landscape and where new frontiers are likely to take us.

Why: So far we’ve looked at TED talks on journalism which address how modern media has changed the industry; Rosenteil takes in one step further and asks if it’s better or worse (and why).

Andres Jaspan: A New Way to do Journalism

Who: Former mainstream newspaper editor and founder of The Conversation, a not-for-profit news service.

What: In a world in which modern journalism is frequently charged with having lost its moral compass, Jaspan discusses how the industry and those working in it can change their fundamental approaches to make changes for the better.

Why: Any TED talk on journalism starting off with “Hello, my name is Andrew and I’m a recovering journalist” has got to be worth 20 minutes of your time.

Michael Anti: Behind the Great Firewall of China

Who: Jing Zhao (pen name Michael Anti), Chinese political blogger and journalist.

What: The Chinese government is notoriously well known for its direct control and censorship of the country’s internet access, which has given rise to both bizarre quirks and serious questions about civil liberty.

Why: While we think of the Internet as a unified, cohesive platform, by its very nature we rarely get to see behind the curtain of the censored version which operates in China. This is a rare opportunity to see it from the other side, with highlights including how much content you can pack into 140 characters when using Chinese.