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Looking at the family photo album: a resumed theoretical discussion of why and how

Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 01 January 2014, Vol.6(1) [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Looking at the family photo album: a resumed theoretical discussion of why and how
  • Author: Sandbye, Mette
  • Found In: Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 01 January 2014, Vol.6(1) [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Research Article ; Family Photo Album ; Histories Of Photography ; Vernacular Photography ; Cultural Theory ; Material Studies ; Affect
  • Publication Details: Routledge
  • Language: English
  • Description: Having been the most widespread practice of photography since the late 19th century, it is only in the recent few decades that family photography has come into focus of academic attention. Scholars working with family albums have mainly come from anthropology, whereas scholars from the aesthetical fields, art history, photography studies, and cultural studies have been more hesitant about how to approach such a material. Using three family photo albums from the late 1960s and onwards as examples, the goal of this paper is to underline that family photos contain emotional, psychological, and affective qualities that reach further than the individual owner and that should be put forward, also within the fields of aesthetics and humanities. Family photo albums are about social and emotional communication, they can be interpreted as ways of understanding and coming to terms with life, and at the same time they document more sociological aspects of daily lives, that we do not have access to from other historical sources. The paper suggests a theoretical framing as a combination of now “classical” photography theory and more recent cultural theory in order to highlight the possible interpretative findings in an analysis of family photography drawing on cultural theory, social-cultural anthropology, material culture studies, affect theory, and phenomenology.
  • Identifier: E-ISSN: 2000-4214 ; DOI: 10.3402/jac.v6.25419

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