The Algorithmic Production of the Visual

Portrait Mode, Instagram and the Automation of Mobile Photography

Authors: Dzmitry Boichanka


Boichanka, D. (2020). The Algorithmic Production of the Visual: Portrait Mode, Instagram and the Automation of Mobile Photography. Journal of Creative Industries and Cultural Studies–JOCIS5 (1), 30–49.


This paper examines the intersection between visual and software cultures, in which the software becomes responsible for the production of the visual content. The first part of the paper defines visual culture as a continuation of the classic capitalist mode of production which re-creates everything in terms of outputs but avoids reinvention of the means of production. The second part of the paper presents the analysis of the software culture and its ongoing trend to modify human practices with technological extensions which dramatically alters the means of production. The third part of the paper describes the consequences of the collision of the two cultures. In particular, we consider iPhone Portrait Mode as a consumer-oriented example of micro-automation which helps to valorize the mobile photography, and Instagram as a medium of the aesthetic visual communication which provides users with tools to edit photos with filters, mixture them into stories, furnish with metadata, and deploy to the global informational network.


Visual Culture, software culture, human extension, mobile photography, Portrait Mode, Instagram.

ISSN: 2184-0466.
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