Journalism, representation and the public sphere

Title chapter:"The smartphone is my constant companion". Digital photographic practices and the elderly
Author:Maria Schreiber
Keywords: Digital photography; visual; seniors; generation; smartphone
Abstract:This chapter attends to the question of how personal photography is practiced through and with the smartphone by the elderly. The smartphone as a networked multimedia device that is always at hand is at the heart of current changes not only in personal photography, but in the mediatization of our everyday lives. It clearly affords new possibilities, but how those affordances are used and how different ways of engaging with the same affordances are evolving, remains to be empirically investigated. One factor of variation are different generation- and age-specific technological experiences that seem to constitute different ways of engaging with media. While considerable research has been done on younger people and their digital photographic practices, the so-called digital immigrants, have not received as much attention. Based on an empirical example that combines the analysis of text and picture, the article shows how a sixtytwo-year-old woman adopted the smartphone as her "constant companion" and key device for snap photography. Her modes of showing and sharing suggest that specific configurations of hardware (smartphone) and software (e.g. WhatsApp) contain various affordances that she employs for diverging needs - while her family remains the main motif and counterpart of her photo sharing practices.
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