a new article by Alise Tifentale and Lev Manovich: "Competitive Photography and the Presentation of the Self"

Alise Tifentale and Lev Manovich, Competitive Photography and the Presentation of the Self

Publication information:
"#SELFIE–Imag(in)ing the Self in Digital Media," edited by Jens Ruchatz, Sabine Wirth, and Julia Eckel. Marburg, 2016 (forthcoming).


Many discussions of photography and other types of visual culture including user-generated content often rely on professional — amateur distinction. In this article we introduce a different pair of concepts: competitive — non-competitive. We believe that analyzing photography history and its present such as Instagram’s visual universe using these new concepts allows us to notice phenomena and patterns that traditional professional—amateur distinction hides.

The analysis of presentation of self in online digital photography is a case in point. We can now see that the selfie genre is complemented by an “anti-selfie” genre that presents the self in a different way. The two genres correspond to different understanding and uses of Instagram by non-competitive and competitive photographers.

Information about the illustration above:
Examples of Instagram “anti-selfies.” Authors, first row: @vita_century, @vita_century, @deroy_night. Second row: @lavimeer, @merciless_mart, @sex_on_water. Third row: @recklesstonight. Author’ age ranges from 14 to early 20s. (as explicitly indicated in their profile or can be estimated from photos in their galleries). The authors live in Russia or Ukraine. The photos were shared during Summer and Fall 2015.