In the eyes of the world, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grown from the leader of a startup begun in a Harvard dorm room to a father, husband, and quasi-world leader. He’s also one of the richest and arguably most recognizable people alive. He regularly sits with heads of state and operates a company with a budget that exceeds many nations.
Unlike the handful of other people living such high-profile lives who have tightly controlled public personas, Zuckerberg has more than 90 million followers. That’s why The California Review of Images and Mark Zuckerberg, a new publication dedicated to examining visual depictions of the Zuck, makes a lot of sense.
The publication’s submissions editor is Tim Hwang, a lawyer who leads Google’s public policy as it relates to AI and machine learning. Hwang has a history of publishing humorous or insightful examinations of tech and culture. In 2013 he created the Journal of Venture Studies. A year later he launched the Adventure Time Forum.
Hwang has also worked with civic tech groups like The Berkman Center at Harvard University and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and shared thoughts on the future of AI and automation in Quartz and other publications.
“We are seeking 2,000-3,000 word essays which will select a single image or series of images of Mark Zuckerberg, and focus on deconstructing their meaning, analyzing their visual composition, and/or delving into historical context,” Hwang said in a Medium post.
Ideas must be submitted by midnight Wednesday, and final drafts are due in late September. A symposium to discuss the work will be held in late 2017, Hwang said. Each accepted submission will receive a $300 stipend.
Think about it for a while — or take a quick trip through image archives — and it becomes clear there’s a lot to work with here.
There’s fresh-faced twentysomething CEO in sandals Zuckerberg:
The depiction of Zuckerberg in the movie The Social Network:
There’s Zuckerberg on TV:
The years where Zuckerberg wore a gray shirt every day (we’re still in those years):
VR visionary and futurist Zuckerberg:
And present-day depictions of Zuckerberg as father, husband, and family man:
Photos of Zuckerberg traveling to all 50 U.S. states this year also provide a lot of fodder for what those photos may say about income inequality, jobs and automation, or speculation that he wants to run for president.
Images published on Zuckerberg’s own Facebook profile in recent weeks include him livestreaming a mile underground, filleting salmon in Alaska, on an oil rig in North Dakota, and a kind of poverty tour of the Blackfeet Nation reservation in Montana.
The California Review of Images and Mark Zuckerberg has suggested a few potential areas of focus for articles, including Zuck, Race, and Class; Media Portrayals of Zuck; Art History and Zuck; and Man Zuck, Boy Zuck.
Facebook knows a lot about all of us — or at least Facebook’s two billion monthly active users.
As Zuckerberg and Facebook weigh in on terrorism, hate speech, privacy, authoritarianism, and AI fearmongering, examination of the images they choose to put out into the world or the ways a person like Zuckerberg is depicted in the media seems awfully fitting, and fascinating.