Dissertation tutorial


Following my extended tutorial with Claire Scanlon I have been given some suggested reading to help with my topic of interest. The books I’m in search of are as follows;

Towards a Philosophy of Photography by Vilem Flusser

The Return of the Real by Hal Foster

Jacques Lacan by Sean Homer

The Optical Unconscious by Rosalind E.Krauss

And this months copy of After Image. A current periodical with an appropriate article.

Also recommended by Stephen Bull via E-mail is Snapshot Versions of Life by Richard Chalfen. I would very much like to read his book Photography which is due for release in December and is in the Routledge Introductions to Media and Communications series. It has a chapter dedicated to the snapshot which he tells me answers many of the questions I suggested via e-mail, so this will be perfect. Hopefully by pre ordering on Amazon I can have it in time to be of some use to me in my final draft but if not then I have permission to forward some questions.


I’m happy to say that Sonja Campbell who runs the snapshot museum has also consented to an interview and seemed greatly excited by my area of research. Hopefully combined with Stephen’s input, this will produce some interesting and rich primary research.

Below is a copy of my original plan which is now likely to change somewhat to include the issues Claire and I discussed today. I see this change as a positive thing which will enable me to learn so much more about the subject choice which motivates me for many reasons. Perhaps through research I can quantify the tender feelings I have for the humble 6X4 snapshot photograph.

This comes with my sincere apologies for the poor formating, it was originally a spider diagram with text boxes in word 2007.


          The psychology of the snapshot /

                                                     The death of the snapshot/

                                                                           The snapshot in the digital age.

Introduction Quote Memories are meant to fade Lenny, they were built that way for a reason  – Strange Days

 INTRODUCTION _ experience on the plane coming back from holiday observing a traveller looking through her digital camera images and the comment she made on likeness then looking through mine. A conscious knowledge that in the long term I would remember the holiday, not as it was, but as it was photographed. The  event and the  recorded version of it were vastly separate. The images had become stones in the ground, monoliths, and the memory I knew would fade and all that would remain was that which there was a photograph of.  Images important to memory as if without photography there is no memory.        Death =  The snapshot = preservation of memory/ cheat death = perishable paper image  = Death.

“you press the button ,we do the rest”

CHAPTER ONE  why photograph? a historical perspective on the psychology of the snapshot, includes the invention of the snapshot camera the idea of PROOF, and the history of the family unit etc. to give shape to experience Barthes immortalization and the death issue like the memento mori link this neatly with the death of the medium of film and the paper image

“The news that the camera could lie  made getting photographed much more popular”

CHAPTER TWO; Bring this debate up to date, what are we trying to be when we photograph ourselves for social networking sites such as facebook. We’re a modern day clan of Cindy Shermans we may not realise it but we’re playing roles, the roles invented by society and the media for us tinged with the cult of celebrity we want to look like the idealised version of ourselves we hold in our headsUse Sonntag here.

((Do we touch upon the cathartic experience of photo therapy as explored by Jo Spence and Rosy Martin? Photos used in therapy?)) if so then           

keep it brief

digital and how this has changed how we take and store images what are we trying  show and how has taking that single shot changed from the expense of film to allowing the editing instantly to engineer the truth PARALLELS WITH THE EDITED ALBUMS OF THE PAST THAT DO NOT SHOW THE FUNERALS EDITING MAKES US A NATION OF STEPFORD, I’m not denying that originally snapshots weren’t engineered but they were instant and you were cautious, you were stuck with the results. Now we’re not stuck we delete. Those lost as BARTHES WoULD HAVE IT amateur noeme filled images gone forever. We store our images on the hard drive not in albums. Nothing tangible and eventually lost??? LOST? I don’t know

CHAPTER THREE; case study Sonja Campbell and Steven Bull reflections on the death of the snapshot or the evolution of the new idea. How would Sonja see her museum in the future? Are these relics becoming valuable? How does she choose her images?


A summary of what has been covered from a brief  history of the snapshot, the uses and purposes it fulfills e.g proof, identity, mortality etc. the snapshot in the digital age.  And my personal reflections.


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