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Digital Photography and the Morselization of Communicative Memory

Mediated Millennials

ISBN: 978-1-83909-078-3, eISBN: 978-1-83909-077-6

Publication date: 11 November 2019


With the ubiquitous spread of the Selfie as a central feature of millennial digital practices, this article examines the impact of digital media on the traditional uses of the snapshot as a record of private life, particularly in terms of the family and circles of friends. It argues that the affordances of digital photography and social media lead to a transformation of the snapshot into the Selfie. The Selfie as a kind of performance impacts the social practices of family photography in a variety of ways. Some positive, in that the affordances of digital photography put the opportunity for the public circulation of self-selected Kodak “moments” which show the individual in the best possible light; and some negative since the new emphasis on the body as a vehicle of self-expression sustains a tournament based on appearances. The resultant shift from notions of the gift economy implicit in practices of family photography leads to the personal snapshot becoming a proto-commodity form in which the competitive logic of Celebrity culture pervades the social exchange of the photograph. The chapter closes with consideration of the importance of the Selfie across the life course and the logic of self-impression management as a digital performance.



King, B. (2019), "Digital Photography and the Morselization of Communicative Memory", Schulz, J., Robinson, L., Khilnani, A., Baldwin, J., Pait, H., Williams, A.A., Davis, J. and Ignatow, G. (Ed.) Mediated Millennials (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 107-126.



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