New Images: A New Language?

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Gulsum DEPELI, Hacettepe University, Turkey
The individualized and democratized forms of individual creativity and political activism in social media opened a new ground for visual communication. Recently, in the social media of Turkey, we witness the circulation of some new types of photographic images, which are comprised by integrating two different (in)relevant news photographs into one frame.

In comparison to the conventional photographs which “do show but not narrate”, these photomontage images construct a narration, a political argumentation within one frame. Despite of the theoretical approaches which emphasize the power of photography as evidence, far beyond this, the social media users utilize the photographs for constructing a critical political discourse, and circulate it in public space. In other words, they instrumentalize the photographic content for the benefit of generating a counter-discourse against state violence, rather than using the photography as evidence of truth. They make use of the images, as if they are just a simple component of the visual language/grammar to build an image-text. This activist intervention makes the photography get rid of its authentic roots more than ever before: Rather than anchoring to the past and claiming to be the evidence of truth, the photographs travel and function among different discourses in public space. Henceforth, in these kind of images, not the photographs themselves, but the discourse they circulate is the most important one.

In this paper, I will attempt to discuss photographic images, which produce and circulate discourses against the state discourse in social media in Turkish context. For that purpose, I chose four images roaming in social media, which are related to significant incidents occurred in the recent past of Turkey: Roboski Massacre; Reyhanlı Massacre; Gezi Resistance, and the very precarious time period after the General Elections (June 2015) in Turkey.