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From snapshots to social media

New book describes the history and future of domestic photography


From Snapshots to Social Media describes the history and future of domestic photography as mediated by technological change. Domestic photography refers to the culture of ordinary people capturing, sharing and using photographs, and is in a particular state of flux today as photos go digital. The book argues that this digital era is the third major chapter in the 170-year history of the area, following the portrait and Kodak eras of the past.

History shows that despite huge changes in photographic technology and the way it has been sold, people continue to use photographs to improve memory, support communication and reinforce identity. The future will involve a shift in the balance of these core activities and a replacement of the family album with various multimedia archives for individuals, families and communities. This raises a number of issues that should be taken into account when designing new technologies and business services in this area, including: the ownership and privacy of content, multimedia standards, home ICT infrastructure, and younger and older users of images.

From Snapshots to Social Media is a must for designers and engineers of imaging technology and social media who want a better understanding of the history of domestic photography in order to shape its future. It will also be of value to students and researchers in science and technology studies and visual culture, as a fascinating case study of the evolving use of photographs and photographic technology in Western society.

Risto Sarvas is a Research Scientist working on personal media technologies in the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, Finland. He has a doctorate in Computer Science and Engineering from the Helsinki University of Technology, TKK. His research focuses on building new medial technology for domestic use and understanding the social implications of domestic information and communication technologies.

David Frohlich is Director of Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey and Professor of Interaction Design. There he established a new research agenda on user-centered innovation for the consumer market. As well as conducting numerous user studies of photographic behaviours, Frohlich has co-authored a number of digital photography patents. Frohlich has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Sheffield and is founding editor of the Springer journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing.


R. Sarvas; D. Frohlich
From Snapshots to Social Media
The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography
2011. XI, 199 p. 33 illus., 24 in color.
Hardcover €49,95, $59.95, £39.95
ISBN 978-0-85729-246-9

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