Previous understandings of photography have described the interrelation between decade long processes of camera technology innovation and the resulting aesthetic development in image forms that follow. Today cell phone manufacturers offer software updates to cameras that extend consumer image making abilities. With these updates, software partially replaces hardware development as users find that their camera phones can do one week what they could not the previous (Apple and Samsung’s narrow depth of field and low light photography updates being examples of this). Importantly, however, this is not a one-way process in which manufacturers “push” updates to consumers. Rather, manufacturers can now also “read” the data being created on their devices, either directly as it is captured, or indirectly as it is uploaded to social networks. Likewise, major DSLR manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Sony and others), whose consumer base upload millions of images to Flickr every week (complete with detailed and complex EXIF data) now have a trove of information regarding the geographic location, lens settings and camera settings, not to mention contextual and consumption popularity data, that can inform their production and R&D decisions. The data economy of photography now extends beyond the relationship between photographer, camera and resulting image, and into the relationship between photographer, socially networked image exhibition platform, image consumer and camera manufacturer. Taking an analysis of over 5000 photographs derived from the 100 million CC Flickr archive, this talk considers the emergence of Astrophotography as a genre and the R&D responses to it from the camera manufacturers to ask: when it comes to camera innovation, does the image matter anymore?


Bio: Dr. Leon Gurevitch is Visiting Professor in the Film and Media Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara and until recently, Senior Research Fellow on the Cultural Analytics Program in the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of California Los Angeles. Back in New Zealand Leon is Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design and a Royal Society of New Zealand Research Scholar. Leon is an Associate Editor of Animation: A Disciplinary Journal has published his work in Continuum Journal, The Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, The Journal of Television and New Media, Senses of Cinema, and others. Leon currently lectures graduate and postgraduate courses in photographics and computational culture.



Following the lecture, please join us for drinks at St Lucy's.

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 11 March

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Tuning In with the Stethoscope in the Nineteenth CenturyDr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham)

Friday, 25 March


Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 8 April

Online via Zoom

Invention and reinvention in the landscape symbolism of Joachim PatinirMichael Levy

Friday, 29 April

Online via Zoom

Negotiating balance of cultures among Chinese Australians to facilitate ageing well

A/Prof Shuang Liu

Friday, 13 May


Redefining crisis in museums: insider’s perspectives on digital engagement

Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A journey through the Australian environmental movement ecosystem

Dr Robyn Gulliver

Friday, 10 June

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan



Level 6, Michie Building (#9)