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Jessica Moh

Materiality, Digitization and Ephemerality of Photography: Exploring the Progression of Photography as a Medium in the Age of Mobile-Oriented Visual Culture

Digital photography has altered the way users view images: from tangible items to pixels on a screen. Removing the physical materials and processes once used to produce a film photograph, digital photography has caused the medium to become less tangible, consequently affecting the materiality of the medium. Mobile photography and computational photography have now introduced new complications into the authenticity of a photograph. A digital photograph is seen as less reliable as a source of referential information of the real world due to its high susceptibility to be digitally manipulated. The ease of post-process editing has led many scholars to fear for the medium’s ability to accurately reflect the true world. Furthermore, mobile phone softwares immediately produce High Dynamic Range (HDR) images, creating a composite image even before the photograph is edited. Additionally, with the effortless process of taking images with a mobile phone and the immateriality of digital images, mobile photography creates an essence of ephemerality for photography. Although users can easily delete images, online networks and websites ultimately make an image “sticky” as there could be multiple copies of the image circulating online. Through understanding the progression of photography, this thesis aims to analyze the novel implications of mobile photography on the materiality and ephemerality of photography.

Sector C

Advisors: Gregory Vershbow (VLST), Ian Verstegen (VLST)