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Ubiquitous Photography

Ubiquitous Photography

Martin Hand

ISBN: 978-0-745-64714-2

Jul 2012, Polity

200 pages

Out of stock



The rise of digital photography and imaging has transformed the landscape of visual communication and culture. Events, activities, moments, objects, and people are ‘captured' and distributed as images on an unprecedented scale. Many of these are shared publicly; some remain private, others become intellectual property, and some have the potential to shape global events. In this timely introduction, the ubiquity of photography is explored in relation to interdisciplinary debates about changes in the production, distribution, and consumption of images in digital culture.

Ubiquitous Photography provides a critical examination of the technologies, practices, and cultural significance of digital photography, placing the phenomenon in historical, social, and political-economic context. It examines shifts in image-making, storage, commodification, and interpretation as highly significant processes of digitally mediated communication in an increasingly image-rich culture. It covers debates in social and cultural theory, the history and politics of image-making and manipulation, the current explosion in amateur photography, tagging and sharing via social networking, and citizen journalism. The book engages with key contemporary theoretical issues about memory and mobility, authorship and authenticity, immediacy and preservation, and the increased visibility of ordinary social life.

Drawing upon a range of sources and original empirical research, Ubiquitous Photography provides a comprehensive introduction to critical academic debate and concrete developments in the field of digital photography. It is essential reading for students and scholars interested in media and society, visual culture, and digital technology.

Detailed Contents vi

List of Figures viii

Acknowledgements ix

1 Ubiquitous Photography: A Short Introduction 1

2 Visual Culture, Consumption and Technology 25

3 Images and Information: Variation, Manipulation and Ephemerality 59

4 Technologies and Techniques: Reconfiguring Camera, Photographer and Image 96

5 Memory and Classification: Between the Album and the Tag Cloud 143

6 Conclusion: Ubiquitous Photography and Public Culture 185

References and Bibliography 198

Index 215

"Hand proves to be a reliable guide in taking us throughwhat remains a rather bewildering landscape."
European Journal of Communication

"Photography is no longer a hobby or a discrete activity, and Martin Hand sets out in his lucid and engaging study just how it has become 'ubiquitous', modifying and making more visual a whole range of existing social practices."
Tim Dant, Lancaster University

Hand's book sets contemporary photographic practices in the context of information technologies, changing cultural and economic forms, and a media-saturated society, and provides a lucid analysis of how these constitute "ubiquitous photography". Its combination of cultural theory, analytic insight, and ethnographic sensibility makes it indispensable reading for anyone seeking to understand contemporary visual culture."
Anne Beaulieu, University of Groningen
  • The first book to focus on the changes digital technologies have made on the production, circulation and consumption of photography.
  • Considers a range of digital cameras and their contexts, from “prosumer” SLRs to cameras embedded in mobiles.
  • Examines the role photography plays online, including the circulation of images on social networking sites like Facebook.
  • Places these phenomena in their social contexts, examining concepts like intellectual property, privacy, and the blending of production and consumption of culture.
  • Part of Polity’s highly successful digital media series.