John Suler's Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche

- Perceived Privacy -

perceived privacy in cyberpsychology

In telecommunications and cyberspace, we might think that we are speaking in private to friends or family, when in reality those communications could be accessed by anyone and may in fact be very public. Cyberpsychologists call that illusion of confidentiality "perceived privacy."

It's particularly interesting that perceived privacy even occurs in discussion boards that are completely public, but only a handful of people are speaking to each other. Even though they know, on some level, that anyone might be listening in on their discussion, they still converse as if no one else is there, most likely due to the fact that other people don't seem present because they aren't saying anything.

I created this image with those ideas in mind. I placed the young woman texting with her cell phone on a dark background, in the corner of the frame, with her body dimly lit - all of which suggest seclusion and privacy. The fact that she is squatting reinforces the idea of her being enclosed in her own space. The tight square frame also provides a feeing of containment and security. A warm,, comforting atmosphere is created by the sepia tones, but then that's the danger of perceived privacy: is this really a safe, secure place?.


Would you like to read or participate in a discussion about this image in flickr?

Here are some other articles in Photographic Psychology that are related to this photo and essay:

Body language in photography
Cropping and the frame
Negative space

Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche