New visualities and the digital wayfarer: Reconceptualizing camera phone photography and locative media

Hjorth, Larissa; Pink, Sarah
Mobile Media & Communication

In this article, we examine how second-generation locative media and emerging contemporary camera phone practices are becoming entangled to create new visualities and socialities of place and place making. With location-based services (LBS) smartphone apps like Instagram geotagging is increasingly the default, rather than choice. This has transformed both how we experience and conceptualize co-present relationships across micro and macro realms and how we chart these relationships and environments as we move through the everyday world. Through a preliminary study of 10 users of smartphones in urban Australia we explore their daily routines and how camera phone and LBS practices become part of those everyday repetitions. In 2013, Australia mobile Internet subscriptions have now reached 22.1 million: basically one subscription for every person in the country. To understand these new everyday visualities we develop the notion of the “digital wayfarer” as a way to think about the perpetually moving mobile media user. Expanding upon Tim Ingold’s notion of the wayfaring type of mobility that is both routine and repetitive (i.e., “transport”) in the realm of the digital interwoven within the everyday, we reflect upon the digital wayfarer as they move through taking and sharing pictures and their tagged geographic and temporal contexts as part of broader emplaced and interwoven visualities and socialities.