Publisher, Author, Protagonist, and Change-maker

By: Sini Kaipainen  

Social media like Instagram has allowed for a professional photojournalist to emphasize the value of personal testimony over institutional media. Furthermore, a shift to these platforms offers opportunities to connect directly with audiences without traditional editorial intervention. Yet, empowering of individuals can be seen overall positive for society but not necessarily for the profession of conflict-related reporting and witnessing. For these reasons, this case study of photojournalist Ed Kashi's Instagram profile imagery outlines the aspects of discursive constructions of his professional identity narrative. Accordingly, using Kashi’s own words, Instagram allows him take a role of publisher, author, protagonist, and change-maker. The present paper uses the media observation of the participant’s Instagram account and the close reading of his research interview as a method in order to consider 1) how, for instance, promotional, autobiographical, testimonial, and journalistic discourses are interlinked, and 2) how photojournalist's media identities emerge in these discourses in a media-specific way. The present case study indicates that these discourses are connected and repeatedly blended not only to condition such discourses but also to capitalize them in a performative manner on and because of Instagram. Therefore, the platform can reshape or expand the dimensions of photojournalism both as a profession and practice. This case study is a part of a larger ongoing PhD project that explores professional photojournalists, who document conflicts-related issues on Instagram.

Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Sini Kaipainen

Doctoral candidate, Department of Media (Photography) / Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Finland), United Kingdom
United Kingdom

MA Sini Kaipainen is a doctoral candidate, department of media (photography), Aalto University of Arts, Design and Architecture (Finland)