In the eyes of much of the world, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grown from founder of a startup begun in a Harvard dorm room into 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 that of many nations.
Unlike the handful of other people living such high-profile lives, who generally 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 has 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.
A quick trip through image archives makes it 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 when Zuckerberg wore a gray shirt everyday (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 in terms of 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 embarking on 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 about Facebook’s two billion monthly active users, so it’s an interesting exercise to take a look at what we know about its leader.
As Zuckerberg and Facebook weigh in on terrorism, hate speech, privacy, authoritarianism, and AI fearmongering, examining the images Facebook puts out into the world and the ways Zuckerberg is depicted in the media seems awfully fitting, and fascinating.