Commercial image banks powerfully shape the cultural meanings of social media, especially when circulated as “fact” in the news media. To this end, we report a social semiotic analysis that documents the representational, compositional, and interpersonal framing of social media in a corpus of 600 stock photographs top-sliced from three global image banks. This core analysis is complemented with reference to (a) keywords used to categorize photos in image banks, and (b) two indicative samples of photos reproduced in international English-language news reports. We find that a visual “regime of truth” is produced in stock photography (and then circulated by the news media) that is gendered, affectively flattened, and “corporatized.” Social media are also depicted in ways that are disembedded and largely asocial or desocialized. We interpret these findings in terms of visual and media ideologies, and vis-à-vis scholarly perspectives on “connectivity” and “sociality” in digital communication/culture.

Desocializing Social Media: The Visual and Media Ideologies of Stock Photography

Giorgia Aiello
;
2023

Abstract

Commercial image banks powerfully shape the cultural meanings of social media, especially when circulated as “fact” in the news media. To this end, we report a social semiotic analysis that documents the representational, compositional, and interpersonal framing of social media in a corpus of 600 stock photographs top-sliced from three global image banks. This core analysis is complemented with reference to (a) keywords used to categorize photos in image banks, and (b) two indicative samples of photos reproduced in international English-language news reports. We find that a visual “regime of truth” is produced in stock photography (and then circulated by the news media) that is gendered, affectively flattened, and “corporatized.” Social media are also depicted in ways that are disembedded and largely asocial or desocialized. We interpret these findings in terms of visual and media ideologies, and vis-à-vis scholarly perspectives on “connectivity” and “sociality” in digital communication/culture.
2023
Giorgia Aiello, Crispin Thurlow, Lara Portmann
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/918754
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