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Review of The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media

Social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson describes his new book as “the culmination of [his] thinking about the rise of social photography, written from within and outside academia, within and outside industry” (113). The latter half of this description, taken from the last pages of his new book The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media, outlines Jurgenson’s ideal vantage point for analyzing the titular subject of this text. The “social photo” is the term Jurgenson uses to describe “the overwhelming bulk of photographs being made today […] made ubiquitous by networked, digital sharing” (8). As a quick point of clarification, I should note that as a reviewer of this text, I’m quite the neophyte on the subject, knowing little to nothing about photography, but having a great deal of interest in social media. From this position, I can, however, note that Jurgenson’s text is an extremely helpful means of introducing the reader to the history, contexts, and discursive frameworks that surround contemporary uses of photography and the debates in which it’s immersed.

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