Accepted paper:

Post-photograph as a digital object and a visual document: new challenges for anthropology


Victoria Chistyakova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

Paper short abstract:

The paper is focused on possibility of introduction of digital images ("post-photographs") as the visual documents that testify appearing, developing, and functioning of the network communities. Digital image becomes a new perspective for anthropology which aims at studying the new social identities.

Paper long abstract:

Having restated in a different way the thesis of Lev Manovich regarding digital cinema that looks like a particular branch of painting, - "no longer a kino-eye, but a kino-brush", - one could say about static image culture that photographic realism is displaced from being its prevalent mode to become only one option among many. A lot of images that look more or less photographically are still called "photographs" despite they represent rather not what the lens "sees" but what a screen can display. Which consequences of this process are crucial for anthropology which, apparently, got used to be guided in its research of visual data by traditional optical conventions of what is to be treated as a document?

Speaking of anthropology of the epoch of post-photographs we can say that as a rule not anthropologists make them. In other words, researchers deal with the visual artifacts created not by them (unlike the visual anthropology, for instance, which is engaged itself in production of visual images). Post-photograph serves as a document insofar as it tells something about its author, the context and purposes of its production, and the audience which it is intended for. That would be right in regard to the image of any origin, but at present post-photograph often becomes a crucial factor in the process of development of the communities of a new type. The link of digital image and community moves in the center of our attention and forces us to expand our ideas about visual document.

panel P03
Relational resolutions: The role of digital images in ethnographic fieldwork