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Competitive Photography and the Presentation of the Self

Co-author of the article: Alise Tifentale.
Written in 2016.

Publication data:

Jens Ruchatz, Sabine Wirth, and Julia Eckel, eds., Exploring the Selfie: Historical, Analytical, and Theoretical Approaches to Digital Self-Photography (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 167-187.


Many discussions of photography and other types of visual culture including user-generated content often rely on professional—amateur distinction. In this article we introduced a different pair of concepts: competitive—non-competitive. We believe that analyzing photography history and present such as Instagram’s visual universe using these new concepts allows us to notice phenomena and patterns that traditional professional—amateur distinction hides. The analysis of presentation of self in online digital photography is a case in point. We can now see that the selfie genre is complemented by an “anti-selfie” genre that presents the self in a different way. The two genres correspond to different understanding and uses of Instagram by non-competitive and competitive photographs.

Article  2016