Since October 2010, the popular photo-sharing site, Instagram, has grown to 80 million users who have shared nearly four billion photos, according to Instagram's official blog. With the advent of the cell phone camera, everyone has become a photographer.
Robert Heller, a professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at UT, will be presenting a lecture at the Science Forum today on the history of photojournalism.
Dr. Mark Littmann, who oversees the UT Science Forum, invited Heller to speak because his enthusiasm inspires students.
"(Professor Heller) is ... beloved by his students because he is a great artist with astonishing insight that he shares with his students," said Littmann. "He is a remarkable speaker and listener, and ... he cares about his students."
Littmann also believes that an audience beyond Heller's students will enjoy hearing the lecture.
"I love to hear him speak and I knew that (the) UT Science Forum audiences would too, and ... photojournalism involves technology as well as art, and is therefore appropriate for the UT Science Forum," he said.
Heller's passion for photography and photojournalism stems from his childhood, where he recalls the magic that came out of the dark room his father had in their home. He went on to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in photojournalism from Syracuse University. He now teaches photojournalism and graphic design at UT and is the resident expert in visual communication.
Heller's lecture will preview what he teaches in his photojournalism classes. The lecture will focus on an overview of photojournalism, as indicated in the title of the lecture, "A Brief Yet Incomplete History of Photojournalism."
"It's not meant to be a complete look at the history, it's relatively short, but what I've done is gathered some highlights from the history of photojournalism that I find particularly interesting," said Heller.
Heller believes that many people will be interested in the topic given the prevalence of photography in the everyday lives of people.
"Everybody seems to be a photographer these days, everybody carries their cell phone camera with them, everybody posts pictures on Facebook and Instragram, so I would think that there would be a broad interest in topics that have to do with photography, whether it's 'How do I become a better photographer?' or 'Where did this all start?,'" he said.
Heller's enthusiasm for photojournalism shines through when he gives his lectures.
"I'll be talking about the first photograph ever made that still exists today ... imagine with that millions upon billions of photographs made every year ... can all trace their heritage back to that one photograph. ... I think it's a fascinating story," Heller said.
Heller's lecture will take place today from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in dining room C-D in the Thompson-Boling Arena. The Science Forum is free and open to all UT students, faculty, staff and the general public.