Rantavuo, Heli Connecting Photos
A qualitative study of cameraphone photo use


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Cameras and picture messaging services became part of mobile phone communication at the same time as digital cameras gained popularity in Finland in the early 2000’s. Snapshot photography has since undergone a transformation in technical and cultural terms. Snapshot photographers work on personal computers with image browsing, processing, and archiving software. Photos are viewed on camera, phone, and computer screens, and are shared on mobile messaging and internet sites. This thesis examines cameraphone photo use amongst users in Finland. It investigates cameraphone photographers’ notions of cameraphone photographs, of communicating with them, and of the technologies with which the photos are used. The thesis shows how cameraphone photos become meaningful through comparisons with analogue and digital photography and connections to mobile phone and internet communication. The study approaches photos not as visual texts but as data files. It draws on the social constructionist approach to technology studies, referring to literature on domestic photography, domestication studies of information and communication technologies, and the circuit of culture model. The study is based on the interviews, photos, and diaries of sixteen Finnish cameraphone and digital camera users of different ages.

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