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The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media

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"Mr. Jurgenson makes a first sortie toward a new understanding of the photograph, wherein artistry or documentary intent have given way to communication and circulation. Like Susan Sontag’s On Photography, to which it self-consciously responds, The Social Photo is slim, hard-bitten and picture-free." – New York Times 

A set of bold theoretical reflections on how the social photo has remade our world.



With the rise of the smart phone and social media, cameras have become ubiquitous, infiltrating nearly every aspect of social life. The glowing camera screen is the lens through which many of us seek to communicate our experience. But our thinking about photography has been slow to catch-up; this major fixture of everyday life is still often treated in the terms of art or journalism. 

In The Social Photo, social theorist Nathan Jurgenson develops bold new ways of understanding photography in the age of social media and the new kinds of images that have emerged: the selfie, the faux-vintage photo, the self-destructing image, the food photo. Jurgenson shows how these devices and platforms have remade the world and our understanding of ourselves within it.
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