Hashtag "Sunset"

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  • Title: Hashtag "Sunset": Smartphone Photography and the Punctum of Time
  • Author(s): Tara McLennan
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Image
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Image
  • Keywords: Punctum of Time, Smartphone Photography, Networked Images, Memory, Presence, Temporal Experience
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2016
  • ISSN: 2154-8560 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8579 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v07i01/33-43
  • Citation: McLennan, Tara. 2016. "Hashtag "Sunset": Smartphone Photography and the Punctum of Time." The International Journal of the Image 7 (1): 33-43. doi:10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v07i01/33-43.
  • Extent: 11 pages


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.