iPhone photography has now become prominent enough in the zeitgeist that there have now been several studies done on its various aspects. For instance, last year, I, along with P1xels’ Knox Bronson and other iPhoneographers, participated in a general study on the community and social aspects of iPhoneography.

This year, a new dissertation by Zachary McCune, a Master’s student in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, analyzes three months of research just completed on Instagram Users and their motivations to take and share photos on the iPhone platform.

Given the large number of Instagram users, Zach’s sample is very small. Some of his research draws conclusions obvious to those in the iPhoneography community. Some of the conclusions he draws about Instagram, though, are pretty interesting. I find it very cool that iPhoneography is getting more attention on an academic level.

“In a three-month study centered on a four-week ethnography, attendance of a London meetup, and analysis of 23 open-response user surveys, this project assessed the iPhone app “Instagram” as a social media network. The research was grounded in the question why do users share personal media content with global networks? Rather than offering a theoretical response to this question, or attempting a macro-assessment of Instagram use, this study engages “iPhoneography” (neologism: iPhone+ photography) from an experimential lens of using the Instagram app, and communicating directly with other Instagram users. The results, while perhaps too in-depth to other generalized conclusions, provide an intimate account of Instagram use and show social media users as concerned with both personal production and social reception. It also shows that Instagram users develop high fluency with various iPhone photo apps, and consciously craft rather than simply capture the images they share.”

A 5 page summary can be found here,  alongside Zack’s full 80 page dissertation.