The Camera and Relationships

Melanie Isenogle


Has our increasing usage of cameras negatively impacted our relationships with one another? Long before camera-phones, physical images called carte-visites in the mid 19th century would be used as a form of communication with one another through the telling of ones presence at another’s shop or home, or through the act of sending through letters. These small portraits acted as a token for one’s presence; a physical interaction and communication through two people and a reminder of a moment and bodily being. 

This tie to physicality through an image of one’s self is similar to the physical communication through imagery we as a society hold dearly via a now digital lens. Social media platforms, such as Snapchat, or digital communication entities, like texting or video-chatting, provide a level of physicality of individuals through imagery shared between users. One can talk with and see movement of their loved ones in real time. Yet, at the same time, what comes with this type of conversation is an actual lack of physicality in it of itself, and an increasing amount of expectations, and possible stress, through the usage of these platforms. Thus, we beg the question, has the increasing immediacy of communication through the camera lens enhanced our relationships or hindered them? 

Written Work
Artist Bio

After most recently completing her time at Bowling Green State University for her Master of Arts in Art History, Isenogle received a research grant from the Toledo Museum of Art to analyze the copies of Anna Atkins’ publication “Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions” in London, UK as an extension of research from her Master’s Thesis. Following this opportunity, Isenogle relocated to New York City and is currently working as an Accounts Manager at B&H Photo Video.