ABSTRACT

The technological mating of a camera to a cellular telephone has resulted in the development of new types of images that move photography in the direction of performativity. Using J.L. Austin’s (1981) idea of “performative utterance,” which claims that “to say something is to do something,” the act of speaking is one of creation in a sense; by extension, photography is not merely the passive reception of a scene, but the active making of an image. This chapter will argue that the camera phone’s emergence is the most definitive example of the performative act that photography has seen. This argument can be better understood through tracing the development of the cell phone camera, considering related theoretical resources, and observing the uses of this type of camera.