TheTimeLapse: Taking the Politics out of Journalism
Similar to the Bipartisan Feminist Project, TheTimeLapse is a youth-operated photojournalism company striving to take the politics out of journalism.
Movements and news stories are politicized when they are generalized. Both Generation Z and the news we consume run rampant with generalized ideas that young people selectively consume to fit their worldview. When single-minded headlines, memes, and infographics cloud our feed, they also cloud our mind. The result has been that 38% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans hold a “very unfavorable” view of the opposing party, a drastic increase compared to the public opinion 20 years ago. This is a significant barrier for a generation which also strives to be progressive and inclusive. Without unity, we will struggle to enact more positive change than past generations.
TheTimeLapse was co-founded by high school senior Lindsay Shachnow and college freshman Aysan Dehghani in New York and Vancouver during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For them, the apparent hopelessness and polarizing news coverage of the time highlighted the need for our generation to be immersed in current issues with more attention and skepticism. So they asked themselves: how do we embed the work of journalists into the lives of young minds? How do we promote change and inspiration? The answer was clear: build credibility by presenting honest testimonies via art and photography. Personal testimony presents current events in all of their complexities - free from generalization.
They first embarked to interview fourteen students globally, from Nanjing to Capetown, about how the pandemic had impacted their lives. TheTimeLapse’s global network of students plays a vital role in establishing integrity with the audience. As Lindsay and Aysan shared when I spoke with them, “Voicing young and raw experiences in the face of hardship ensures a certain degree of innocence; an aspect of a youth’s mind that politics cannot control.”
Similar to the Bipartisan Feminist Project, this child-like testimony enables TheTimeLapse to show the need for social change rather than directly express it. As Cassandra from Capetown shared, “I feel like I am in a dystopian world, kind of like the movies.” This raw observation exposed the mental and emotional impact that the pandemic has had on our generation. The signature of each person interviewed on TheTimeLapse website symbolizes this honest testimony and each contributor’s dedication to finding the truth.
The Time Lapse not only displays free-thought through interviews, but makes use of students’ artistic talent to encourage solidarity over social issues. For instance, in their work entitled Nine Minutes, Lindsay and Aysan write, among images and videos of protesters, ”In half the time it took Martin Luther King to give his ‘I Have a Dream speech,’ George Floyd was murdered. Personally, I drew from this that justice is easier broken down than it is built up. Regardless of what you deduce, you are more likely to seek positive change if the idea results from your own mind.
TheTimeLapse’s strategy of showing rather than telling is similar to that of the Bipartisan Feminist Project, but with an artistic twist, opening bipartisanship to a different audience of students.
Students can join TheTimeLapse to provide honest accounts of current events and use their artistic skills to promote open-mindedness. This company displays the world in all of its complexities, inspiring readers to enact change in their own lives.