Picturesque Wounds: A Multimodal Analysis of Self-Injury Photographs on Flickr

Yukari Seko


The advancement of Web 2.0 technologies has drastically extended the realm of self-expression, to the extent that personal and potentially controversial photographs are widely shared with public viewers. This study examined user-generated photographs of self-injury (SI) uploaded on a popular photo-sharing site, to explore how the photo uploaders represent their wounded bodies, whether there are any emergent discursive and visual conventions that (re)define "photographs of SI," and whether these emergent conventions affirm or resist dominant cultural discourses of SI. 516 photographs of SI uploaded by 146 Flickr members were analyzed using methods of visual content analysis and discourse analysis. The findings indicate that while dominant discourses largely determine the shaping of SI photographs, some uploaders subversively frame their wounds as a narrative of resilience, thereby transforming their wounds into an authentic source of self-expression.



self-injury; visual content analysis; discourse analysis; social media; Flickr

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Copyright (c) 2013 Yukari Seko

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