Kodak, Polaroid and Facebook: The Shaping of Memory, Family Pictures, and Photography of the Self

Photo of a polaroid camera

Kodak, Polaroid and Facebook: The Shaping of Memory, Family Pictures, and Photography of the Self

May 6, 2015, 6 - 7:30 pm
Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario

Throughout the 20th Century, Kodak was a primary force in shaping the practices of amateur photography, actively influencing the practices of family and personal photography with its concept of the “Kodak moment.”  In the postwar period, its counterpart Polaroid emerged to sell the idea of photography as instant, key to parties, sex, and art.  Yet, in the early 2000s, both companies went bankrupt, right at the moment when social media such as Facebook and Google aim to shape the practices of personal and family photography.  This paper looks at this history of photographic memory, how the practices of domestic photography were sold to consumers, and how social media is changing concepts of the family photograph, the photographic album, and the self portrait.

About the Speaker

Marita Sturken is Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, where she teaches courses in visual culture, cultural memory, and consumerism.  She is the author of Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering(University of California Press, 1997), Practices of Looking: Introduction to Visual Culture (with Lisa Cartwright, New York: Oxford University Press, second edition 2009), and Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism From Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (Duke University Press, 2007).

This talk is part of Sights + Sites: Memory, Monuments and Place After the Digital Turn, taught by Professor Shelley Hornstein

The 2015 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute, School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, York University

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