The social psychology of digital photography : a process philosophy approach
This thesis addresses the nature of the image and its relationship to human perception and memory. Traditionally psychology approaches the relationship between the image and the human in a representationalist register, in which the world represents itself through images to the subjective observer. The thesis questions these assumptions about the representational relationship between the world, the mind and the image through a study of people using digital photographic technologies. It argues that digital images exist as a complex network of technology and activity that manage their incessant movement, production, consumption, convertibility, connectedness and fragility. The digital image exposes the complex nature of the image as more than a simple representation. If this is the case, then human involvement with images as networks occurs in terms of our inclusion in the network rather than as a subjective observer positioned outside of the world. Henri Bergson proposes that we see the image in terms of a distinction between time and space rather than as an intermediary between a subject and the object. The implications of this for the way in which we think about the interaction between people and technology and the nature of perception and memory are explored through some data examples from three settings. These are; amateur photographers using digital technology; families looking through their stocks of digital images and remembering past events together and finally, displays of family member's histories and identities on the internet.