They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why photography has always been on the cutting-edge of global storytelling.
Even in this digital age, there are stories that need to be told, and understood, in new and different ways. Take international issues, for instance. Challenges like hunger, poverty, gender equality seem far less removed when a visual can connect you to the issues – which is why three years ago the United Nations Foundation launched #Instacorps. An idea that marries photography, a popular visual platform and most importantly, a global community. The magic behind #Instacorps was to hire world renowned photographers – who were already big names on Instagram — to capture behind-the-scenes moments at the Social Good Summit, held during UN Week, to be shared on Instagram only. Truly digital-first and truly transparent. The impact and ingenuity of the photographers and the project are why PR News recognized the UN Foundation this week for #Instacorps for the Digital PR Awards in the “Best Social Media Campaign” category.
Every September, UN Week is an opportunity to unite world leaders and great minds in New York to address globally shared challenges. But the most exciting discussions are often out of reach for most of us. High security and closed meetings at the UN can be real barriers to entry for the average citizen. The UN Foundation recognized this challenge as a chance to open up those conversations to the wider world at the Social Good Summit. For many years now the Social Good Summit has truly gone global – and more so since the addition of the #Instacorps photographers, who capture some of the most beautiful and intimate moments of the two-day event. These amazing photographers bring images of UN leaders, heads of state, former refugees and child soldiers, Nobel Peace Prize winners, actresses, and activists to people who may not have known about these global issues and the impact of the UN’s work.
But chronicling stories like this in New York isn’t enough. Broadening this coalition to an important global summit meeting in Paris during COP21 was an example of the expansion of this concept and the hunger that the community has to not only see and “like” what’s happening, but to learn about complex issues via a democratic and highly visual platform. This concept is being used now globally and not just by the original set of photographers and organizations that it was born out of – it has become a way to tell the world’s story in an open sourced manner.
This award tells us that we need to keep pushing ourselves to tell the world’s stories in interesting ways on new and emerging platforms. Thank you to our incredible community, thank you to Instagram, and thank you to the photographers that we have been lucky enough to work with over these past few years – Ben Lowy, Maisie Crow, Ben Fitch, David Coventry, Kerry Payne, Eric Thayer, Ryan Parrilla, Joshua Lott, Joanna Lemanska, Adrien Brunel, Raul Cabrera, Katie Orlinsky, Timo Weiland, Zun Lee, Dmitry Kostyukov, Benjamin Girette, Stephanie Sinclair, Benjamin Petit, Ron Haviv and Anastasia Taylor-Lind.