3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Julia Leeb
By Alice Bonasio
Julia Leeb is a renowned artist, photojournalist, and VR filmmaker who travels in some of the world's most dangerous places such as Syria, North Korea, Egypt, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo to use photography as a medium to highlight the plight of innocent people caught up in civil war, rebellion, terror, and dictatorship. She aspires to create awareness of the effects that conflicts have on humanity—and of the courage, hope, and fear she has witnessed
In 2017 she showcased some of her work in an exhibition at the Süddeutscher Verlag publishing house in her hometown of Munich, where she combined photography and VR to bring the visceral experiences closer to home for audiences who can often feel quite removed from situations which are so far from their safe and stable realities.
According to Leeb, consuming journalistic content through VR and 360-degree videos enables viewers to have a sense of being there—of living a moment happening across the world. She has therefore invested in the new medium, working to surmount the technical challenges of carrying and setting up a VR rig in challenging conditions, and immersing her audience to places where they would never have access to otherwise, such as refugee camps in South Sudan or Belarus. By transporting viewers across the planet to different cultures and areas of conflict, Leeb hopes to improve the understanding between peoples and nations—and to break down barriers and prejudices for a better, more peaceful future
“For me, it’s important that we see and understand the world we live in,” she says. “We’re in the 21st century, and we can fly to the moon, but we oftentimes don’t have the faintest idea about what’s happening in our own world. I hope that virtual reality, a technology in its infancy, can revolutionize journalism and make the world a better place,” she said. “The world is getting smaller and smaller. It concerns us all. A conflict in Africa today can be a European conflict tomorrow.”
Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio