Hashtag "Sunset": Smartphone Photography and the Punctum of Time

By Tara McLennan.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: January 15, 2016 $US5.00

This autoethnographic article ruminates on how Roland Barthes’s punctum of time is reconfigured in current smartphone photographic practice. I sense my way into the affective piercing of images, first in the moment of photographic capture, and then in the context of browsing Instagram and Facebook. “Hashtag Sunset” acts as an entry point into how the wound of time is experienced or tamed through the multiplicitous conglomeration of networked vernacular images. Hashtags promise permanence and constancy through storage and repetition; the “Sunset” metaphorically evokes photography’s relationship with transience, mortality and loss. The vast digital landscape of ubiquitous live shots calls for a reimagining of the photograph’s affective piercing, as a haunting of the past, or an electrical awakening to the now.

Keywords: Punctum of Time, Smartphone Photography, Networked Images, Memory, Presence, Temporal Experience

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 7, Issue 1, March, 2016, pp.33-43. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: January 15, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 555.646KB)).

Tara McLennan

Doctoral Candidate, Transforming Cultures Research Centre, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia