Framing the Photographs: Digital Photography as a Computerization Movement
Eric T. Meyer
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute
March 1, 2008
COMPUTERIZATION MOVEMENTS AND TECHNOLOGY DIFFUSION: FROM MAINFRAMES TO UBIQUITOUS COMPUTING, K. L. Kraemer & M. S. Elliott, eds., Information Today, Inc., Medford, NJ
In this chapter, the author examines a single computerization movement: digital photography. During the period 1991-2004, the technology in digital cameras was being refined by manufacturers and the advantages and limitations of digital cameras were discussed widely in the popular and trade-oriented media. The author explores this period of technological change using the concept of computerization movements, particularly drawing on how computerization movements use technological action frames, which reflect composite understandings of a technology's function and use that are built up in the language about a technology. Content analysis data of major media sources shows a storyline developing alongside technology developments: The earliest digital cameras were widely hyped as potentially revolutionary but seriously limited in capability, and during the late 1990s concern was expressed regarding a perceived lack of sufficient technological progress toward acceptable quality technology. Once the technological limitations were overcome, widespread adoption was viewed as inevitable, even while concerns about such issues as digital manipulation remained. This simple story, however, does not reflect the more complex tensions experienced in many domains that rely heavily on photography. To explore this more complex story, the chapter also includes a more detailed look at a specialized domain, police and legal photography, where the adoption of digital photography followed a rockier course than the popular media accounts would suggest.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: digital photography, computerization movements, social informatics, content analysis
Date posted: December 6, 2008
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