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Why Publishing Nude Pictures of Yourself Might Not Have the Effect You Intend

Perhaps, if you have heard of “revenge porn,” you have also heard of Emma Holten, a Danish woman who had nude pictures of herself sold to a website by an ex-boyfriend when she was seventeen. Last September she released an article for Friktion magazine about her fight against a system intent on shaming women for … Continue reading

Photographer as salvage archaeologist: A reflection on Susan Sontag and Edward Curtis

Working on separate projects during the early 1900s, Edward Curtis and Adam Vroman both took thousands of photographic images of Indigenous groups in the United States. Edward Curtis did so with the explicit intention of documenting a “vanishing race” of people for preservation in American archives. One New York Times reviewer reflects on this project … Continue reading

Interacting with Otsuka’s autobiographical photos

Photographer Chino Otsuka whose series titled Imagine Finding Me, photo-shops her present-day self into photos from her childhood. I believe some of Smith and Watson’s ways of interacting with life-writing texts can be applied to these photos in a fresh light. Agency As opposed to letting her parents taking the photo, Otsuka gains agency in … Continue reading

Self(ie)-Control: Social Mediation of the Self–A Response

In 1997, Rugg notes that “it does sometimes occur that individuals make photographs of themselves” (3). The occasional occurrence of what is now referred to as a selfie was duly noted in this text: a minor counterargument briefly mentioned.  But in 2015, millions of photos are tagged as “selfies” on social media. We have moved … Continue reading

Re-membering Ourselves Through Photography

In the introduction to her book, Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography, Linda Rugg outlines the complexities of textual and visual signification within the autobiographical genre. Both photographic and textual autobiographical artifacts complicate the position of the author, and disrupt the subject/object binary. Photographic and textual autobiography transforms the author from subject into both subject and … Continue reading

Response: Smith and Watson and #selfie in South Korea

Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson’s characteristics of the “autobiographical subject” can be applied to the use of selfies in photo sharing apps such as Instagram to construct a narrative bound in cultural beauty standards. Recent news has stated that 70.14% or 35,000,000 people of the South Korean population owns a smartphone. The country, prideful of … Continue reading

A Summary of Marianne Hirsch’s Introduction to _Family Frames_

Hirsch opens her introductory chapter with an overview of some of the key points Roland Barthes makes in a section of Camera Lucida wherein a photograph of Barthes’ mother as a child is “read” by Barthes; this description of a photograph is what Hirsch calls an “imagetext” (10). When one looks at and is “looked … Continue reading

24 ways to interact with life-writing texts: A summary of Smith and Watson

Agency How does an author “writing back” to hegemonic institutions/dominant narratives allow her to gain agency? Audience/Addressee Who does the text address; are there multiple audiences? What kind of reader does the text ask you to be? Authority/Authenticity Is the narrator authoritative? Does the narrator defer to an established authority figure to give clout to … Continue reading

Autobiography as the struggle for control of self-image: Summary of Rugg’s “Introduction.”

Taking the stance that photographs are “weapons in an ideological struggle” (15), Rugg argues that photography, like autobiography, allows its subjects a kind of control over perceptions of selfhood both privately and publicly. We tend to understand photographs as a special kind of sign, believed to have a more realistic relationship towards between signified and … Continue reading

What do our #selfie-taking practices say about us?

In an effort to uncover more layers of meaning in people’s selfie-taking practices, Sophia, Alexandra and myself searched #selfie on Instagram to explore the types of shots that people categorize under the term. Selfie-taking is worth critically exploring because it has become such a pervasive practice. While there are more than 224 million photographs categorized … Continue reading