American adolescents consume millions of still and moving images each year in advertising, marketing campaigns and entertainment. These sources are produced and distributed through traditional media channels as well as more recently established social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. At the same time as these young consumers are digesting hours of media, they are also responsible for producing and publishing millions of images which document and broadcast a narrative of their lives daily using the same social media platforms.
As an artist and mother of two adolescent girls, understanding the dynamics and mechanics of image consumption as well as image-making and how it informs identity and perception of self has become critical to navigating the intensely photographic saturation of my daughters’ lives. Deconstructing the photographic medium in the variety of social media contexts by examining it in an art context is the focus of my research and practice and a way to involve young girls in a conversation about the complex power, manipulation and magic in photography.
A sense of self is a precious thing. Defining the language of photography and how it informs the construction and perception of self may provide my daughters and their peers with some mechanisms for managing their relationship to photography.