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Title: The value of fashion photography in the culture of social media
Authors: Choi, Sau Wai Athena
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Fashion photography exists alongside the fashion industry but is a world to itself in its "fantasy making" capacity. Despite the essential function of fashion presentation and visual communication, fashion photography appears to be a relatively neglected research topic. While fashion photography exists in the form of fashion blogging, fashion blogger's self-produced visual images comprise a key influence in the phenomenon of "users-turned-producers" in the digital culture. The aim of this mixed method study was to examine the impact of social media on the perceived value creation of fashion photography in Hong Kong. The perceived values were initially categorized into six domains: identity expression, artistic expression, fashion trend diffusion, taste leadership, bloggers' self-branding, and fashion branding. Four objectives were identified for this study: (1) to identify the key perceived values of fashion photography and how it creates value in social, cultural, and commercial contexts; (2) to construct a conceptual framework to investigate fashion photography; (3) to formulate the interrelationship of the key elements of the perceived values in the context of fashion blogging; and (4) to construct a framework of fashion communication under the new value creation system of fashion blogging. This study adopted Rose's (2012) visual methodology in collecting data pertaining to the three sites of the image: the site of image production, the site of image audiencing, and the site of the image itself. The study used three data collection methods, including qualitative measures of in-depth interviewing of 20 fashion image producers, including professional fashion photographers, stylists, and editors in Hong Kong; and a focus group with 43 college students majoring in fashion discipline from a design institute, who were among the Hong Kong audience of fashion bloggers. These participants were able to shed insight into the changes in fashion photography in correspondence to the site of image production and the site of image audiencing, respectively. Then a content analysis was used to examine the visual content of 10 fashion oriented Instagram pages hosted by Hong Kong fashion bloggers.
The findings proposed a theoretical framework for the value system created by fashion communication and demonstrated a pathway for how fashion lovers could enter the fashion industry by successfully engaging in fashion blogging. The integrated theories were formulated and developed into four sections: (1) identity construction: A "creative self" as a means of self-branding; (b) the changing aesthetic expectation of the networked visual world; (3) clustering of fashion trend diffusion and taste leadership; and lastly, (4) a digital networked value creation system of fashion communication. This framework interprets the current fashion communication scenario of Hong Kong and how fashion bloggers build their self-identity as a self-branding process. The findings contribute to (1) the fashion industry by providing insights for both professional fashion image producers and young fashion lovers in adapting to the new digital culture of fashion communication; and (2) education and policy makers. The findings suggest the pressing need for developing new curriculum in fashion studies, and may serve as a practical guide for supporting the fashion media industry in Hong Kong.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Fashion photography
Fashion photography -- Social aspects -- China -- Hong Kong
Pages: xvii, 367 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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