Impossible family portraits: Users, new media technologies and the writing of amateur media history

Susanna Aasman*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    With the shift from analog to digital the field of amateur media widened as the technologies of image production, distribution and screening altered considerably. The many transformations of home moviemaking chart it as something that used to need a film camera and film, a detailed development process, a projector and a darkened room, into something that today can be done with a mobile phone. New terms have come along to describe these diverse amateur practices like home video, video diaries or user-generated content. It is time to re-evaluate these practices that so far have been marginal to media history. This article aims to open the space for new perspectives on the history of amateur media by tracing the changing relations between new technologies and different uses of amateur film and video. Charting why and how people choose to use specific technologies at particular moments and how economic, social and cultural factors influence these choices could help us to understand how some technologies became embedded in our lives and others not. The suggestion put forward in this article is that we can only gain more insight if we are less medium specific on the one hand and more case specific on the other.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-125
    Number of pages15
    JournalNew Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary film
    Issue number2&3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept-2013


    • user-generated films,amateur media practices,home movies,new media technologies,amateur media history,mediated memory practices


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