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Camera Phone and Photography among French Young Users

Abstract : This paper aims to explore some emerging mobile phone uses among French young users: the mobile images and videos. With onboard cameras on mobile phones today, users are becoming producers of content. We are seeking to understand these new mobile uses and how this creation of content – as photos and videos spreading among social networks – is bringing the users into the information society: be it everyday life, interpersonal relationships and social ties, culture and entertainment activities. In fact, the mobile telephone is well entrenched in the young people’s lives. Based on a sociological perspective on use, we have elaborated different repertories of voice and SMS uses among teenagers. With the new digital images, how does this personal and incorporated object – allowing a “connected mode relationship” – foster the production of these images? Which are the new standards? The spreading of these images within social networks is an essential dimension. Which is their role for social ties and social identity? Our study is grounded on sociological and semiological works on photography by authors from the pre-digital era, which will be confronted with today's uses. The methodology applied is combined: One quantitative part contains a survey (N=250) including short descriptions of almost 500 photos - permitting a user-centered perspective on these pictures - and one qualitative part, which is based on semi-directive interviews (of about one hour) among a sub-sample of 20 persons between 18 and 24 years about their uses of these mobile images on mobile phones compared with those on digital cameras. Results show that the social function of taking photos has evolved since Bourdieu (1965). The images produced appear to fulfill a different function: it is the sociability of friendship which constitutes the new standard. Thus, we can observe a trivialization, since the images also describe the everyday life. If these pictures still constitute a trace of the past, their instantaneous production shown to friends permits them to participate at the construction of social relations in the present. So we witness a modification of the temporality of the photographic act. In videos, the dimension of smiling, of auto-derision, is part of a true staging of oneself, which can be seen as an extension of the popular reality TV. The spreading of these images in social networks through web applications (msn, blogs, Youtube, social network Websites) is undeniable, proving a true intertwining of media. However, two important constraints – economical and technological – remain, concerning the quality of the images taken on mobile devices. Won’t they become precarious images? Also, the young persons develop a complex rationality of use distinguishing between the various available devices, making a trade-off between different criteria. What counts is to keep in touch continually: thus, the mobile with its images participates in the permanent management of the social tie – like other ICTs –, as a necessary complement to face to face relationships.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 1:05:37 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 9:40:51 AM
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Corinne MARTIN_Camera Phone an...
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  • HAL Id : hal-01478776, version 1



Corinne Martin. Camera Phone and Photography among French Young Users. International Communication Association Conference, ICA May 2009, Chicago, United States. ⟨hal-01478776⟩



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