Above: A Tinder profile photo. Credit: Daily Star.
In his essential commentary on share-trading, One Up On Wall Street, Peter Lynch implores the average consumer to recognize their intrinsic advantage over the wolves and players of the investment banks: the ordinary person can easily see with their own eyes if a company's stock is worth buying because their products and services will be obviously popular with the mainstream end-user--there is no better indicator of success. If a shop, or a product, or particular type of car, is becoming very popular within the realm of the quotidian then that is a very clear indicator for the rising stock of the company. (Lynch's point is that players and wolves don't actually use the mainstreet stores or ordinary daily products and are thus alienated from this rich source of share-trading research.)
A researcher into the social context of photography in modern society might adopt the same methodology in order to comprehend the current place of the camera-photo in the life of the ordinary person.
One example is the rise to prominence of app-based dating and hook-ups which depend, of course, on each user uploading a flattering-alluring photo-portrait. Meeting a partner via a concrete locale (at a local bar, gym, out shopping, etc.), has given way to meeting partners via smartphone-based dating apps. The same efficiency and convenience of Deliveroo and Uber has been successfully applied to human relationships. (The seeker-of-love is no longer dependent on serendipity.)
The Tinder photo is one basic use of photography today. The Tinder-uploaded-portrait might be the terminal utilization of the digital-portrait: all visual nuance is efficiently directed to the overall function--as an enabler for casual, hedonistic, recreational hook-up sex.
(8 February 2018)