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Embodied nostalgia

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posted on 24.05.2021, 12:02 by Kimon Kaketsis
By looking at the history of snapshot photography from the Kodak Brownie until today's iPhone, the qualities of digital snapshot photography will be measured against its analogue past. Through this critique, I will illustrate how highly valued cultural objects like the photographic print and the family album have been replaced by hypermediated transactions of images stored online via social networking websites. Specifically, I will explore why our contemporary society looks back to its past, and at the same time yearn for the future. Smart-phone developers tap into the niche market of this nostalgic trend and created, for example, the Hipstamatic application to give us images that capture moments that look unique, old, and most importantly, one-of-a-kind. The nostalgic qualities associated with analogue snapshot photography-aged prints, exposure flaws, soft focus, and light leaks-are mimicked by contemporary digital images, creating the illusion of historical uniqueness. Snapshot photography is about memory, time, ritual, and nostalgia; the digital is about hypermediated, immediate and constant social online photo posting. The snapshot photograph finds itself at an interesting point of transition, competing to be one step ahead of the newest technology and at the same time, imitating yesterdays technology by striving to look authentically as if from the past. The new and the old have become intermingled.



Master of Arts


Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type