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Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova)

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Page 1: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Why We Say “Cheese”:

Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography

(by C.Kotchemidova)

Page 2: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

I. Two Perspectives Toward

Understanding Communication

• I. Transmission Model

• II. Cultural Perspective

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I. Transmission Model

• Transmitting a MESSAGE from a SENDER to a RECEIVER through a CHANNEL and with the always present but reducible interference of noise

Page 4: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

I. Transmission Model Questions asked (e.g.):

– Was the message accurately transmitted?

– How does the received message effect

behavior?

– “Who says what, to whom, through what

channel, and with what effect?” (Laswell)

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II. Cultural Perspective

• Communication is the creation of meaning by people through symbols in a specific social & cultural context

• “Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed”

– James Carey

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II. Cultural Perspective Questions asked (e.g.):

- How is meaning constructed?

- What reality is being produced, maintained, repaired or

transformed?

- Where do the ideas & information that we communicate

come from?

- By what processes (& in whose interest) is reality produced,

maintained, repaired and transformed?

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We study (and critique) culture. We study:

Interpretations & Reception

History & Context

Institutions

Organizations

Power

Wealth

Discourse

Media Representations

Individual and Shared Meaning

Individual and Shared Values

Individual and Shared Beliefs

Page 8: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Communication as

transmission only?

Example: Advertisements

• If goal is only about sending a message

(i.e. “transmission”) in hopes the

receiver “hears” it (and buys the

product), how do we describe what‟s

going on in this commercial?

Page 9: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Team Bill vs. Team Eric

Page 10: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Team Edward vs. Team Jacob

Page 11: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

III. Case Study of the Cultural Perspective

A. Kodak Photographs: Snapshot culture & the smile

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Why do we say “cheese?”

Page 13: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Cultural perspective of

snapshot culture:

RQ: How did the smile come to be the

photographic standard?

Or, “How did the consensus to smile

in photographs arise and who

produced it?” (p. 4)

Page 14: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Kotchemidova: Outline

1. How media construct meaning

symbolically

2. “Political economy” & cultural meaning

3. Media & Technology

4. Social power & ideology

Page 15: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

1. How media construct meaning

symbolically

• Kodak‟s association of photography with

“fun:”

• Changed the discourse about

photography to one of pleasure

Page 16: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

Smiling women,

Smiling children,

Smiling soldiers

going to war,

Smiling animals

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1. Kodak‟s symbolic

construction of meaning

• Markets photo as play

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2. Political economy & cultural meaning

• Kodak‟s “cultural leadership”

• 1915: controlled 75-80% of photo

industry

• Horizontal & Vertical control

• Major advertiser and media producer

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2. Political economy & cultural meaning

• What power did Kodak have as a

“cultural leader?” (p. 5)

• And why the smile?

• Role of amateurs?

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3. Media & Technology

• Different media “do” culture differently

– “Medium theory”

• A medium‟s structure encourages

different ways of thinking and

processing info

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“That the medium of choice was visual particularly helped the

Kodak message to be uncritically received” (p. 13)

The Grand Narrative

Page 22: Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot ... · Why We Say “Cheese”: Producing the Smile in Snapshot Photography (by C.Kotchemidova) I. Two Perspectives Toward

4. Social power & „ideology‟

• Cultural symbols are a form of power

• Who did the cultural construction of the

photographic smile benefit?

– Kodak

– Advertisers / consumer culture