CFP: Amateur Photography and Popular Imaging: Image’s new collective Fictions

CFP: Amateur Photography and Popular Imaging: Image’s new collective Fictions

Le 9e congrès international sur l’étude des rapports entre texte et image, L’imaginaire / The Imaginary, se tiendra à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, du 22 au 26 août 2011.


We know the famous slogan coined in 1888 to launch the Kodak camera that gave rise to amateur photography: « You press the button, we do the rest ». That commitment of an easy photography was behind the huge commercial success of this camera. This slogan perfectly epitomized the boom of amateur photography at the end of the nineteenth century. The idea was to make sure that photography becomes a simple leisure in delegating the « rest», basically the developing and printing process, to the industry.

Besides the booming of a new category of photographers, the amateur photography introduced a new range of themes and subjects. There were indeed an increasing number of pictures showing holidays, anniversaries, family activities and others themes related to the domestic sphere. Amateur photography seemed to finally accomplish a democratic ideal cherished at the very beginning of the medium.

What of the amateur photography today? Around 20 years ago, popular photography was almost considered dead. That was before the digital revolution reanimated the practice. Compact cameras, mobile phones, social networks, Web 2.O, photography is back everywhere. This session is aiming to examine the photographic imaginaries (technical, symbolic, political, social, esthetic) at the core of digital practices.  Are we witnessing the repetition of a democratization phenomenon similar to the one that occurred more that a hundred years ago with the Kodak?   What would be then the social uses and collective fictions that current popular photography is aiming to address? To what democratic ideal digital photography is linked?


Vincent Lavoie, professeur, histoire de l’art, UQÀM

Écrire à l’adresse suivante / write to :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *