Lego, Handcraft, and Costumed Zombies: What Zombies do on Flickr

Trevor Owens


The popular photo-sharing site Flickr contains about half a million images associated with the term zombie. What can we learn about our monsters and ourselves by exploring this vernacular collection of depictions? This essay explores this and related questions by treating the first 300 results of a search on Flickr as a single cultural text. In exploring what Zombies might mean on Flickr, this study suggests how existing approaches to the study of cultural texts can be applied to the algorithmically generated presentation of vernacular images. The results document how Flickr facilitates and sustains a vernacular web of participatory media.


photography; digital humanities; social media; research methods; born-digital sources

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