From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

Thesis Structure:

The thesis will take the form and look of a family album, divided into the chapters explained below. This album will of course contain photographs, some intended for a private audience, although the physicality/location of the album is not yet decided.

Thesis Question:

I will be investigating the publicness of the photograph and if/how it can exist as a private medium.

Relation to previous research?

· School Project – In this project I was exploring the concept of digital privacy and body. I was basing this project of off an experience of losing control over a private image to a public spectacle. I went back to the school where the nude image of me was distributed, to photograph the space that once alienated me through public display.

· Bodyscapes – Since I started photographing, I have always been drawn to the human body. I have photographed in a non-human way. I created beautiful landscapes that looked like they were from a different planet. With these photographs, I unintentionally made them into pretty objects one can stare at, putting on many layers of distortion to beautify it instead of depicting the body in a truthful way.

· Archive Project – For this project I dove into a forgotten archive of my late grandfather. This archive is a physical one, stored in the attic at my parents’ house in Norway. For me to get access to such a private family archive I had to use a public application to attain the digital images of the analogue archive.

Why do you want to write this:

Throughout my previous practice and experiences with photography I want to explore this topic. One of the main reasons is because of my first encounter with a serious breach in digital privacy, causing a loss of bodily ownership, and how it has continued to affect my life for over a decade. At the age of 13, anno 2006 - I sent a nude picture of myself to boy, and he sent one to me. I am not blaming my age, being “confused”, young and stupid. I knew what I was doing, and so did the boy. This nude picture of me spread like “wildfire” through MMS and was uploaded online. If this image was analogue – this would be a completely different story. During this period, around 2006/2007, I was a part of the generation that went from looking at images to being looked at – when cameras became a part of a communication device. You could clearly see the shift in camera advertising – how it went from pointing the lens at the world to point the lens at yourself. Not something to keep, just something to share.


Today the distribution technology is so excessive, powerful and accessible, this thesis will look at the publicness of the photograph, it’s history of the shift into a communication device and why it is so important to keep some part of the photo a private medium. I will be discussing what shaped my critical approach to images how I was informed by the culture I grew up in.


1. From looking to being looked at

How photography changed from a private to public medium. (History, Old photographs, screenshot of archive, communication advertising, made photography into a public medium, if the reason is because of digitalization or the camera becoming a part of a communication device).

2. The Private and Public

Personal backstory and relation I have with photography in the public and private. Do private images exists today? Look at my experience as an experiment and how the medium was the biggest contributor to violation of the subject involved. I will also be looking into how the communication of the private and intimate is no longer a private affair, it needs a public application to be communicated to the desired party.

3. Intent and Control

Discussion about intent and control with photography – there are a lot of photographs that are private that go public but not the other way around. I will conduct an experiment based on…

4. (Mis)representation

(Personal encounters and experiences with photography and the (mis)representation that happens when they reach a public audience. I am interested to see how the photographs intention changes after publication). What happens when a photograph goes public, what is the shift that happens? What does it mean and how are people thinking about it? There are certain images people should not share, although that do not make them private images you put in a family album.

How is it relevant today?

Today's society is a society of being looked at, it's about privacy and liberty in an accessible public world. We live in an online world, a world where the camera was turned into a communication device. Where images are no longer looked at 20 years later for personal memorabilia, but to be instantly shared and forgotten. Today the photograph is used as a means to share and to make public, to have outsiders look in - I believe it is so important to make the photograph a private medium again.


What does the publicness of photography mean today? Can photography exist as a private medium? Does intent and control amount to a private image? Is it possible to control how a private image is represented in public?


On Photography – Susan Sontag Visual Culture – Nicholas Mirzoeff (Chapter 6,10) John Berger – Ways of Seeing

  • Note to self (Possible to use Shoot book as thesis format)