This category contains 29 posts

“Such photography, very in-joke”: parody, play, and performativity in photographic memes.

Dawkin’s coinage of the term meme, rooted in Darwinian discourse, understandably failed to anticipate the nomenclature lending itself so readily to the theatrical hodgepodge of the internet. The proliferation of image-plus-text memes seems inexhaustible, and the enthymemic quality (or, “I get it”-ness) of memes have led to the emergence of of “meme literacy,” a system … Continue reading

Martin Lister’s “Overlooking, Rarely Looking and Not Looking.”

In sight of the nigh-infinite number of images authored, uploaded, downloaded, archived, shared, duplicated, and deleted, Lister argues that prevalent threads of photographic theory fail to account for the current “ocular white noise within visual culture” (2). Citing Paul Frosh’s analysis of the internet stock photograph and Geoffrey Batchen’s argument regarding biographical snapshots, Lister takes … Continue reading

“Dog Shaming,” “Reasons My Kid is Crying” and “Stuff on My Cat” as Communicative Objects

The following websites are user-submissions sites that can act as communicative objects. Each entry follows a meme-like formula that is repeatable and shareable, acting as objects of exchange for users due to their “universal” nature. Dog Shaming Dogshaming.com posts submissions of photographs of dogs after they have done something naughty. Usually there is a handwritten … Continue reading

Susan Sontag’s The Heroism of Vision

In The Heroism of Vision, Susan Sontag outlines some of the problematic tensions that have historically existed in the photographer’s aim to capture the world on a series of “cultural and class and scientific safaris” (89). The hero (or photographer)’s quest on these safaris is unattainable and leads to a number of ethical issues. The … Continue reading

Summary: “Play, Process and Materiality in Japanese Purikura Photography”

Purikura (short for purinto kurabu) = print club Koguru = stylish urban Japanese high-school girls Kawaii = cute Purikura is a “widespread phenomenon in contemporary Japan” referring to passport-style photo booths that print out photos in the form of stickers (109). In Mette Sandbye’s “Play, Process and Materiality in Japanese Purikura Photography” from Digital Snaps, … Continue reading

Mediating Distance Instantly–Telecommunication (Villi Summary)

In Villi’s 2014 chapter Distance as the New Punctum, he points out the influence of digital networks, highlighting the new meaning of time and distance. He brings us back to Barthes’ “punctum” and extends his theory by suggesting distance as the new punctum. (48) Villi notes Barthes work Rhetoric of the Image which I will … Continue reading

Summary: Kara Walker’s, “A Subtlety”

Kara Walker’s art installation, A Subtlety includes several dramatic figures alluding to African American involvement in the sugar trade constructed from white sugar and molasses. The most prominent piece of the installation is a large Mammy Sphinx featuring prominent breasts and buttocks all made out of white sugar. Other figures include children made of molasses … Continue reading

Summary of Oksman’s “Mourning the Family Album”

Tahneer Oksman opens her article with a brief discussion about photos taken during one’s youth, arguing that youth is the earliest period in life where one is self-reflexive; as a result, this is the first time in life we can recognize photos of ourselves as idealized versions of those selves. Oksman then moves on to summarize … Continue reading

Smith and Watson: Everyday Uses of Autobiography

In the introduction to Getting a Life: Everyday Uses of Autobiography, Smith and Watson offer an approach to studying autobiographical narrative in a way that includes the everyday story. They state, “…we move in and out of autobiographical subjectivity, sometimes by our own desire and purposes, sometimes through the exertions and coercions of others” (Smith … Continue reading

Summary: Primary Sources in Subjectivity

Multiple primary sources explore the portrayals of subjectivity in photography. For the purposes of this course, four primary sources were examined in depth. Each approaches subjectivity from a different angle. #iftheygunnedmedown is a tweet campaign which emerged following the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police. When news of the killing first broke on … Continue reading