Date of Award

5-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Stucky, Nathan

Abstract

This study examines the ways in which the photograph is an act of performance. Not only does the photograph serve as a photograph for its audience, the photograph's viewer uses the photograph to perform for his or herself. This relationship between photograph and viewer is most often explored within the family unit. Ritualized family performances are those events where a family narrative is written photographically. This study explores this family dynamic of photography and performance through autobiographic reference to the author's own familial performances when her parents died in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Through the creation and public performance of her narratives surrounding the performances of grief that surrounded her family photographs, the author argues for the public creation of a three-dimensional memory, compared to the two-dimensional memory of the traditional photograph.

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