Accepted Paper:

"Everything is changing" - on digital imaging practices by amateur photographers  

Author:

Manuela Barth (Ludwig-Maximilians Universit√§t, M√ľnchen)

Paper short abstract:

With the popularisation of digital imaging amateur photography has been structured and val-orised newly. This process has often been described as a development which would necessar-ily lead to perfect photographs and to a democratisation of the means of producing and dis-tributing images. The analysis of the contemporary developments in amateur photography must not concentrate on the description of the mere technological changes, it has to take into account the historical, economic, political and social context and also the practices

Paper long abstract:

"Our tools are mutating quickly, promising ever faster, clearer, brighter and cheaper pictures. Meanwhile telephones become cameras, desktop printers morph into mini-printing labs, and high-definition screens threaten to dislodge the venerable photographic print from gallery walls."

With the popularisation of digital imaging amateur photography has been structured and val-orised newly. This process has often been described as a development which would necessar-ily lead to perfect photographs and to a democratisation of the means of producing and dis-tributing images. The analysis of the contemporary developments in amateur photography must not concentrate on the description of the mere technological changes, it has to take into account the historical, economic, political and social context and also the practices. This al-lows some relevant questions as on new imaging practices, their perception, uses of and per-spectives on technology and subjectivities of the practitioners.

Firstly I would like to define "amateur": In public and scientific discourses, amateur is not de-fined in respect to specific practices but in distinction to the professional. Thus a heterogene-ous spectrum of practices is called amateurish: from eventual family photography to the im-ages of ambitious hobbyists. It is also important to analyse how social class, gender and gen-eration of the photographer influence their practices.

Further I would like to ask:

- How the digitalisation influences the production and distribution of images by amateurs.

- What consequences this change has on the distinction of amateur and professional.

- Whether this means an emancipation of the amateur as consumer or as creative participant.

Panel W071
Media, technology, and knowledge cultures: anthropological perspectives on issues of diversity, mutuality and exclusion