Identities in Flux: An Analysis to Photographic Self-Representation on Instagram


  • Sofia P Caldeira Independent Researcher PhD student in Communication Sciences [Ghent University] MA in Anthropology, Visual Cultures [FCSH Universidade Nova de Lisboa]



visual culture, digital media, photography, self-representation, identity, Instagram


Based on a review of literature and on a content analysis of nearly 12,000 photographs from 104 Instagram's users, this paper analyses the uses of photography as a self-representational device, comparing traditional vernacular usages with the new practices that emerged on Instagram. It seeks to understand the motivations underlying Instagram's uses, particularly focusing on its identitary functions, that helps to create visual self-representations in online environments. Identitary construction is understood as an active performance, in which each user is their own author, inventing and re-inventing themselves at each moment, in a continuous flux of imagetic creation that expresses a sense of identity open to constant reinvention. This paper explores not only the creation of selfies, a practice analogous to the self-portrait, but also the parallel strategies used to avoid the discomfort often caused by direct self-representation.




How to Cite

Caldeira, S. P. (2016). Identities in Flux: An Analysis to Photographic Self-Representation on Instagram. Observatorio (OBS*), 10(3).