Helen GRACE

Research Projects


  • Pervasive Imagery & Ephemeral Value: Camera Phone Practices in Hong Kong
  • GRACE Helen Mary
    1 April 2007
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    This research is a Pilot Project to investigate practices of camera phone photography amongst young users in Hong Kong. A web-site image repository will be developed to establish an on-line research community for users and researchers. Although considerable global research has been undertaken on the use of mobile phones and on new forms of communication and social life arising from these uses, relatively little work has been done in analyzing the types of everyday photographic practices involved. Media attention has been focused on misuse of such photography (in invasion of the privacy of celebrities) but is likely that such photography constitutes an almost negligible proportion of images taken. Of more interest from a cultural studies perspective are the ordinary images which young people take for themselves in producing a sense of themselves and their worlds. The camera phone, which is less than ten years old, is now the most used image-making device in the world; in Hong Kong the mobile phone rate of usage is 133% of the total population (latest Office of Telecommunications Authority futures). The focus of investigation here is the symbolic and instrumental value of this image-making. How can we understand these images from an intercultural perspective: Observations will seek to identify genres and patterns of content production. This work extends my specialist knowledge in the history of photography, visual culture and new media. (AL06700)



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