Pictorial turn to freedom. Changing gendered content of photos in the newspaper Edasi/Postimees 1985‒2005

Merike Kaunissaare

In the context of the visual turn, we have witnessed an increase in the information conveyed visually and its independent news value, also in traditional print media. The media seem to function as a cultural indicator that characterizes social conditions similarly to other socio-economic indicators. Photo selections of a newspaper as significant media content also reflect general values. 

e selection of newspaper photos in the article is derived from the selection and coding principles of the ESF grant no. 5854, Structure, actors and values in Estonian, Russian and Finnish dailies 1901‒2009 (M. Lõhmus, R. Kõuts). The analysis is based on the photo material published in the Edasi/Postimees in the coded months of 1985‒2010. The detailed analysis focuses on the weeks with the most diverse pictorial material. The focus is on the social context conveyed in the newspaper photos, especially on the gendered changes in the representational field. The empirical data yields clear conclusions on the quantitative and qualitative structural changes. The attention to social roles and statuses varies in different periods. The choice of what is being represented and how is determined by the field of life and social position as well as gender. Political liberation has been accompanied by a great structural change in the representation of men and women.