With the advent of new technologies, in particular social media and digital photography, images provide many aspects of our culture and help us make sense of and act in the world. We live in “a digital electronic world, built with images designed to capture eye balls, build brand names, create mind share and produce attractive products and services”. This highlights the fundamental importance of the image in cultural life. The image has assumed a privileged status.
In global advertising campaigns visual content is paramount as it is more readily translated to local audiences. This has caused a profound stylistic change in communication, largely centring on the “triumph of the visual over the verbal”.
The image is now a commodity, easily posted and shared with many users on social media. Photography, used in the production of images, has always been a powerful means of communication, and now more so, as it is a key component of many social technologies. It provides a large amount of content on social media, makes visual information primary and dominates input from the other senses.
Celebrities, models, politicians, people in the media, many people in every profession and walk of life make up a large part of this visual media. These images in most cases are taken by anyone with a camera and not produced by creative professionals. This is snapshot aesthetics and an important aspect of documenting, marketing and understanding experience.
This aesthetic drives the experience economy by showing consumers exciting and often everyday experiences that operate in the “liminal zones between the private and public, the personal and corporate, between art and commerce.” Snapshot aesthetics show an “exemplary strategic style” and have become a clear strategic direction by brands to influence the consumer experience.