Redefining Screenshots: Toward Critical Literacy of Screen Capture Practices

The journal Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies has published my article Redefining Screenshots: Toward Critical Literacy of Screen Capture Practices. This terminological intervention comes 13 years after Cindy Poremba's seminal article on video game screenshots and is based on a thorough theoretical exploration of screen capture practices, including historical examples such as roentgen photography, Oscillons, or pictures of computer-aided design tools. I call for a more careful consideration of screenshots' mode of representation, arguing that iconic resemblance and presumed indexicality of these images are often subverted by transformative practices of promotional and artistic screenshots. As such, the perceived documentary function of screenshots should always be questioned and authors working with screenshots should provide a detailed account of the circumstances of the screen capture process to support (or dispel) the vernacular understanding of screenshots as visual evidence.

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