Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life (International Library of Visual Culture)

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9781784530112: Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life (International Library of Visual Culture)
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With increasingly accessible camera technology, crowd sourced public media projects abound like never before. Such projects often seek to secure a snapshot of a single day in order to establish communities and create visual time capsules for the future. Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life assesses the potential of these popular moment-in-time projects by examining their current day prevalence and their historical predecessors. Through archival research and interviews with organisers and participants, it examines, for the first time, the vast photographic collections resulting from such projects, analysing their structures and systems, their aims and objectives, and their claims and promises. The central focus is the 55,000 photographs submitted to One Day for Life in 1987, which aimed, in its own time, to be 'the biggest photographic event the world had ever seen'. Through its case studies, Mass Photography examines the particular cultural role that amateur photography offers, demonstrating how it has come to be embraced as a privileged authentic form, capable of communicating identity, capturing history and touching places that other images cannot reach. In revealing previously uncharted histories of participatory media and user-generated content, this work challenges claims made of the networked digital photograph's seemingly new and unique capacity. As the first book to examine these ambitious and participatory photographic phenomena, Mass Photography makes a valuable contribution to photographic history and theory by taking a fresh look at amateur practice on an unprecedented scale.

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Review:

"fine study...This is the first full length examination of mass-participation photographic projects. It is to be applauded not only for that but also for its qualities of analysis and assessment, perspective and perception, and sustained appraisal of this distinctive application of amateur practice."

--European Journal of Communication

"Pollen establishes the academic significance of mass photography, challenging a continuing tendency to dismiss domestic and amateur photography as banal and trite... The book's substantive focus makes it particularly valuable for researchers and students interested in mass-participation projects and vernacular photography past and present. Nonetheless, Pollen's nuanced and informed analysis of key themes has much to offer a broader constituency of researchers and students of visual culture... In Mass Photography, Pollen presents an illuminating study that grapples with the significance of mass-photography projects and that takes seriously amateur photography and the people who engage in it."

--Visual Culture in Britain

About the Author:

Annebella Pollen is Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Design and Director of Historical and Critical Studies at the College of Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton. She is co-editor, with Charlotte Nicklas, of Dress History: New Directions on Method and Practice (2015).

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