In 2008, Slavoj Zizek was in Liverpool for a couple of days. I took a few photographs of him at a lecture, which have been published in numerous books about him. It is also the photo used within his Wikipedia entry and, today, another publication has used this image. I am very fond of this picture and am sure that its success is predicated on its being freely available online.

However, given the many uses to which it has been put, I wonder whether one may begin to describe it as an iconic image. The photograph conveys a lot about the  man, his independence of thought, his simple, but complex ideas and the bleak background also mark him out as a thinker who can be both celebrated, but also isolated at times, alone with his thoughts.

The success of the photograph makes me wonder whether our sense of what constitutes an iconic image has changed in a digital age. I don't really claim that this photograph has become iconic, but expect that the repeated distribution of a single, free image can create a singular impression of a person which previously may have been afforded by publication in leading periodicals.