Name: Joey Gan S3603490

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Blog reflections

Week 5 – Legacy Photography
Week 6 – Legacy Video
Week 7 – Online Photography
Week 8 – Online Video

The prompt: How do the affordances of Instagram affect the way photos and videos are authored, published and distributed in the network?

WORD COUNT: 1272 Words

Provide your own definition (in your own words) on ‘photography’ in relation to legacy and online media, by referring to the readings, additional research and the practice analyses completed in your blog.

In my own words, the term photography relates to an individual’s ability to initially create and showcase a snapshot of their version of reality. The act of photographing something can be as equally isolating as it is something that brings a community together. Photography can be accounted for in a vast majority of ways. Photography can be viewed as art or perhaps a way to “record and catalogue human experience” (Wells, 2015). In the beginning, the act of photography is something only left to professionals, but over time, everyone holds the basic tools and capacity to document his or her everyday lives through photographs. It was fascinating to note that the idea of the decisive moment as coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson has managed to stay prevalent all the way through to the present day. Modern-day creatives still possess that notion about not overthinking a shot. “It’s about the idea of grabbing on to whatever’s in front of you and running with it, without having much understanding of where it’s going to lead you.” as stated by Casey Neistat about being a successful creative (Fast Company, 2018)

Provide your own definition (in your own words) on ‘video practice’ in relation to legacy and online media, by referring to the readings, additional research and the practice analyses completed in your blog.

In my own words, video practice is a social tool that allows creatives with a range of aesthetic, philosophies and skill a social platform to publically showcase their viewpoints on societal matters. Videographers and vloggers provide a voice and represent those who otherwise can’t, be the catalyst for social change, or they can provide entertainment. There is a tremendous amount of versatility when it comes to authoring a video. “It is the common and everyday way that people communicate” (Sherman, 2008), as the distribution of videos often sparks debate and discussion amongst the public.

What differences and similarities did you discover between the way legacy and online photos are authored, published and distributed?

Throughout the course, we analysed both legacy and online photo examples; there have been an array of both similarities and differences found between the two. The first noticeable difference between the two would be the era/generation it is thought to be a part of. Legacy photography and photographers of the sort were felt to be a part of ‘old media’; a generation where access to cameras was sparse and often, incredibly costly. Old media was characterised as a time before the World Wide Web came into play. The legacy photographer that was used as a class example was Henri Cartier-Bresson; a French humanist photographer who believed in the ‘decisive moment’ when taking a photograph. Cartier-Bresson “was able to capture the peak moment of every photographic scene. He was able to time his images perfectly, composing his photographs with great elegance and ease” (HERE and BETA, 2018). Despite his ability to capture his subjects in the most open and effortless state of mind, Cartier-Bresson possessed the riches to make mistakes and recapture until he got the perfect shot. Not everybody held the ability to afford to take up photography as a practising hobby as it was an incredibly costly process to not only capture a photograph but to produce it. Fast forward to the modern day with the proliferation of new media technologies and capabilities, every individual with a smartphone can be deemed as an aspiring photographer, “yet we are all not just photographers today: we have also become distributors, archivists and curators” (Zylinksa, 2016). Technological advances have allowed us the ability to view the act of taking photographs as apart of an everyday task. Another clear distinction between legacy and online photography would be the affordance to edit and manipulate images. Before the digital age, photography was “a method of naturalistic documentation” (Zylinksa, 2016). This is because there were no developments of editing software and suites. The digital age differs from this as it offers “the greater diversity of image manipulation possibilities and the visual effect on the surface of the computer screen when compositing, editing and viewing” (Zylinksa, 2016). As discussed by David Palmer about Mobile Media Photography, “a photograph no longer moves fixedly and linearly” (Palmer, 2014), meaning that modern-day photography does not follow the similar process legacy photography did. Technological advances allow us to capture, process, view and edit all from the comforts of our smartphones; a process that is often deemed seamless and speedy. All in all, despite these differences in costs, accessibility and impact in ones day to day life, the core essence of photography has not shifted over the years as photography isn’t necessarily “concerned with reproducing the world, but might also enhance and augment our experience of it” (Palmer, 2014). Although photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson dramatically differ in aesthetics and access to modern-day tools to photographers such as Theo Wenner, the core purpose of photography allows individuals infinite freedom to capture their sense of reality and photography allows unlimited creative license and privilege.

What differences and similarities did you discover between the way legacy and online videos are authored, published and distributed?

A key difference I noticed between how legacy and online videos are authored would be the creative limitations they placed upon themselves. Legacy videos held zero restrictions when it came to experimentation. As Kate Horsfield stated in Busting the Tube: A Brief History of Video Art, the 60’s was a time for “drugs, free love, music… and to create mind-altering states of consciousness to create new, more enlightened self” (Horsfield, 2006). This newfound sense of freedom and experimentation can be directly translated to the way videos were authored during the pre Web 2.0 era. Early video practices and practitioners saw it “as a tool to be used in establishing a decentralised communication system and used to produce alternative media content for communicating countercultural ideas outside the restrictions of mainstream channels” (Horsfield, 2006). The work of Nam June Paik is a perfect example of this as his legacy was famously known to be closely tied to zany experimentation with sounds and multimedia. In the current digital age, although videographers and vloggers still hold creative license and freedom, there are some subconscious and societal limitations placed upon the content they produce as their content must be mainstream enough to attract views and followers. To take Casey Neistat as an example, although he rarely filters his opinion to suit the majority, he is still a creative that faces the challenge of “holding on to an audience, and to attain professional status as an individual” (Sherman,2008).  As an example of legacy video, I chose to analyse Global Groove by Nam June Paik. Since the video was first published in the year 1973, it was only exclusively showcased on TV Lab at WNET/Thirteen; capable of only reaching a very niche audience. Drawing back to modern day video practice, where it easily be “networked, shared, downloaded and re-used with ease” (Berry, 2018). With the example of Casey Neistat and his #MakeItCount viral video, although the video was initially distributed on his YouTube channel, it was redistributed on other social platforms and web publications. It has been reposted an abundance of times on social sites such as Instagram, which gives Neistat the opportunity to reach a whole new target audience he previously could not have had it only stayed on YouTube. Conversely, both legacy and online video conjure up a sense of ‘virtual community’ as coined by Trine Bjorkmann Berry in Situating Videoblogging. The term virtual community is “applied to any group of people convening online around shared topics of interest” (Berry, 2018). Although Nam June Paik did not possess social media platforms to hold forum discussions, individuals were still able to discuss amongst themselves about the work created. Similarly, fans of Casey Neistat can comment and discuss through the comment feature on Instagram and YouTube. A key similarity that is shown across both legacy and online video work would be the undeniable and “tremendous utility and power” it holds when it comes to publicising a message or notion (Sherman,2008).


  • HERE, S. and BETA, A. (2018). 17 Lessons Henri Cartier-Bresson Has Taught Me About Street Photography. [online] ERIC KIM. Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2018].

  • Kuc, Kamila, and Joanna Zylinska, editors. Photomediations: A Reader. Open Humanities Press, 2016, titles/photomediations/

  • Wells, Liz. Photography: A Critical Introduction. 5th ed., Routledge, New York, 2015. (pp. 9-27 Thinking about photography: debates, historically and now

  • Palmer, Daniel. ‘Mobile Media Photography’. The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media, edited by Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth, Routledge, 2014, pp. 249–55.

  • Horsfield, Kate. Busting the Tube: A Brief History of Video Art. Video Data Bank, School of Art Institute of Chicago, 2006, pp. 1–9,

  • Berry, Trine Bjorkmann. ‘Situating Videoblogging’. Videoblogging before YouTube, Institute of Network Cultures, 2018, pp. 9–22,

  • Sherman, Tom. “Vernacular Video.” Video Vortex Reader: Responses to Youtube. Ed. Geert Lovink & Sabine Niederer. Amsterdam: XS4All. 161–68. Print.

  • Fast Company. (2018). How Director Casey Neistat Went Rogue With Nike’s New Ad. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2018].