Sunday, September 5, 2010
The Mind’s Eye: Freud and Photography
When we think of Sigmund Freud, we think first of words—the “talking cure” of psychoanalysis, books such as The Interpretation of Dreams, and the infamous Freudian slip. In Mirrors of Memory: Freud, Photography, and the History of Art, Mary Bergstein, Professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design, suggests we should instead think of pictures, specifically photography. “[P]hotography penetrated the cognitive style of Freud and his contemporaries,” Bergstein asserts in decidedly Freudian language, and “documentary photography—of art and archaeology, but also of medicine, science, and ethnography—influenced the formation of Freudian psychoanalysis.” Photography, with its fragmentary and evocative elements, mirrors the way human memory works for Freud. Thus, the mind’s eye, both conscious and subconscious, mimics the photographic lens. Mirrors of Memory provides a new lens through which to view Freud’s development within the early development of photography and the visual culture we now live in. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "The Mind's Eye."
[Many thanks to Cornell University Press for providing me with a review copy of Mary Bergstein’s Mirrors of Memory: Freud, Photography, and the History of Art.]