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On the presentation of self in amateur intimate images: Visual culture patterns’ maintenance despite technological changes (the Brazilian case 1980-2010)
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GKA VISUAL 2020: 6th International Conference on Visual Culture
It is possible to find at least since early 1980s intimate amateur photos of ordinary people published in printed adult-magazines in Brazil – the term amateur is used to argue that in most cases both the photographer (who took the picture) and the photographed model seem not to have formal knowledge on image’s theory and practices. Although such published intimate amateur photos typically constitute personal ads of individuals or couples searching for “episodic encounters” (Anthony Giddens), it can be noticed the use of “tactics” (Michel de Certeau) to protect models’ anonymity on that images. Such “tactics” encompasses a paradoxical “presentation of self” (Erving Goffman) that conceals the face of the photographed person during the photo-taking, eliminating the need of later photo-editing techniques to hide model’s face. Analogous “tactics” to anonymity protection can be observed in intimate amateur images shared by Brazilians in late 2010s – but in this case both photographs and videos posted on pornographic content platforms on the Internet. Thus, it is possible to observe some continuity in intimate amateur’s photo production and publishing, despite the use of different distribution platforms (printed magazines and Internet sites), and their presentation via different communicational materialities (analogical and digital photographs, and digital videos). Such “tactics” maintenance enables considering also a visual culture patterns’ maintenance when publishing intimate amateur images in Brazil, empowering two main conceptual analyses: Firstly, that (i) “imagined communities” (Benedict Anderson) based on erotism are established starting from a faceless self. Secondly, (ii) the finding of ancient analogic visual culture’s patterns in late 2010’ amateur intimate images – even with magazine pornography’s replacement by Internet pornography (Zabet Patterson) – reinforces as mere “technological determinism” the claims that point out the digital technologies of Communication as responsible for the contemporary sharing of sexualized images and individuals’ intimacy overexposure.