Polaroid 2.0. Photo-Objects and Analogue Instant Photography in the Digital Age

Sergio Minniti

Abstract


Abstract: The article focuses on the reconfiguration of analogue instant photography (Polaroid-like) in the digital age. Drawing on STS literature on the mutual shaping of users and technology, and on anthropology and the history of photography, it adopts the concept of “photo-object” to discuss how the digitalization of photography stimulated a change in the cultural significance of materiality in the context of aspirational amateur photography, thus showing how this triggered a redefinition of instant photography as a more authentic form of aspirational practice. The article is based on empirical data collected during a multi-sited ethnography conducted in Italy between 2014 and 2015. By focusing on Polaroid’s “objectness” and its dialectical tension with the immateriality of digital photography, the paper highlights an increasingly common process of circulation between analogue and digital photographic environments and argues that this process of circulation can be conceived in terms of a “remediation” process between analogue and digital practices.

Keywords: Polaroid; photo-object; multi-sited ethnography; technological resistance; remediation.

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