Title
A private visual practice going public? Social functions and sociological research opportunities of web-based family photographyA private visual practice going public? Social functions and sociological research opportunities of web-based family photography
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Research group
Visual and Digital Cultures Research Center (ViDi)
Publication type
article
Publication
Basingstoke,
Source (journal)
Visual studies. - Basingstoke, 2002, currens
Volume/pages
23(2008):1, p. 34-49
ISSN
1472-586X
1472-5878
ISI
000265599100004
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Family websites represent one of the more interesting areas of research into cultural change and reproduction. They also compellingly demonstrate the complex role of technology in both cultural processes. As the latest example of the long-established practice of family photography, these hybrid multimedia products have followed the path of the analogue photograph, framed and displayed in the home, kept in wallets or presented as series of pictures in photo albums, with a marked move to the digital world and a much less noticed shift to the sophisticated multimedia context of the Web. This article examines how this fairly recent shift from private photography to the semi-public space of the Internet, which is unfolding in dialogue with technology, has reinforced, expanded or radically changed the nature of family communications and the very significant social and cultural functions this highly codified practice has fulfilled from the onset. From an exploratory research study into online family websites, I discuss examples, which illustrate the similarities and changes taking place, the possible cultural-propagandistic and emancipatory effects, and the wealth of cultural information that can be decoded. I further discuss the methodological aspects and implications of decoding these new and very vivid exponents of culture.
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