Digital Photography and Picture Sharing: Redefining the Public/Private Divide

The text that Amparo Lasén and I started to work for Copenhagen´s AoIR last year is finally published. Thanks Amparo and thanks Larissa.

Here´s the Abstract

Digital photography is contributing to the renegotiation of the public and private divide and to the transformation of privacy and intimacy, especially with the convergence of digital cameras, mobile phones, and web sites. This convergence contributes to the redefinition of public and private and to the transformation of their boundaries, which have always been subject to historical and geographical change. Taking pictures or filming videos of strangers in public places and showing them in webs like Flickr or YouTube, or making self-portraits available to strangers in instant messenger, social network sites, or photo blogs are becoming a current practice for a growing number of Internet users. Both are examples of the intertwining of online and offline practices, experiences, and meanings that challenge the traditional concepts of the public and the private. Uses of digital images play a role in the way people perform being a stranger and in the way they relate to strangers, online and offline. The mere claims about the privatization of the public space or the public disclosure of intimacy do not account for all these practices, situations, and attitudes, as they are not a simple translation of behaviors and codes from one realm to the other.

2 thoughts on “Digital Photography and Picture Sharing: Redefining the Public/Private Divide

  1. An example of that public / private relation redefinition is the way in wich people sometimes cares about what kind of information show in the social network profiles. A woman that I´ve interviewed told me: “you have not to put personal information in Facebook”, meaning writed information. In her Facebook profile she has a lot of pictures of her sons, ¿Isn´t that personal information?. It seems like digital pictures were “beyond the good and the evil” in some way…

  2. That is really interesting Carolina, and yes, it´s in the same line that we propose. The “traditional” way to understand what is public and what is private seems to be changing rapidly.

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