chapter  14
21 Pages

Interpreting Family Photography as Pictorial Communication: Richard Chalfen

The purpose of this chapter is to suggest an approach to an assemblage of generally taken-for-granted pictorial artifacts - specifically, the realm of snapshot photography. The central concern is with collections of personal family photographs. My objectives include

developing ties between an intellectual curiosity about amateur photography and a cultural appreciation for collections of ubiquitous snapshots;

2 suggesting a model for the critical examination of snapshot photography in conjunction with appropriate methods of fieldwork; and

3 understanding better how the construction, organization and consumption of family photographs can be understood as social activity. Though I stress issues of communication throughout, the qualitative approach I suggest is intimately connected to past and ongoing studies in visual sociology and visual anthropology.