From Every Angle: The Superfluity of Images and Its Impact on Collective Memory

Simon Nestler, Sven Quadflieg und Klaus Neuburg

This paper explores the phenomenon of superfluous photography: While professional photographers aim to capture the decisive moment with precision, the mass production of images by spectators creates a flood of redundant visuals, illustrating a uniformity that contradicts the intended individuality of such captures. The paper delves into various trends and countermovements in photography and visual media that both align with and contradict post-growth ideals. It discusses the shift towards artificial limitations, such as the use of Instax or the temporal limitation of Snapchat images, and the return to analog photography as means to foster a more mindful and selective approach. A significant portion of the discussion centers on the obstacles to implementing post-growth concepts within photography, particularly the reduction in information density and the intrinsic value of images in a materialistic culture. The paper critiques the inextricable link between photography and social media, where the production of images is often driven by a desire for recognition rather than authentic moment capture. Proposing solutions to these challenges, the paper advocates for a re-evaluation of the utility of images, suggesting technological and social innovations to encourage a more intentional and meaningful engagement with photography. These include features for automatic image deletion after viewing, technologies that synthesize the best moments from videos, and AI-powered relevance assessments to curate meaningful content.

Cite as: S. Nestler, S. Quadflieg, K. Neuburg. From Every Angle: The Superfluity of Images and Its Impact on Collective Memory. In Proceedings of CHI Post-growth HCI Workshop (CHI ’24). ACM, New York, 2024

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