6. In what ways have theories of the unconscious informed our understanding of photography?

Discuss with reference to two or three visual examples and relevant material from the reading lists.

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This essay considers the theories of the unconscious as formulated by Sigmund Freud, and then further developed by Jacques Lacan. It investigates how psychoanalysis has been a fundamental basis for the understanding of visual culture, and itspecifically addressesingthe field of photography.It examines the key concepts of voyeurism/exhibitionism, the pleasure principle,drives, dreams and repression as Freud presented them in his theories:, which are essential to realizsinge the power of the image on our psyche. It also looks into the formulation of the Lacanian mirror phase that elucidates how we come to perceive ourselves as subjects . Furthermore, this research explores the techniques employed by artists, such as Jeff Wall and Victor Burgin, to convey messages through their images, and how spectators receive them; viewers are indeed affected by looking at these photographs in a way that psychoanalytic theories enable us to comprehend. It becomes clear thataims to clarify the ways in which photography is a language that acquires meaning through processes of conscious and unconscious thought, social and cultural convention;s and why it cannot be reduced to visual styles, subject matter or authorial ambitions. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud established the evidence of the existence of the unconscious as a separated and hidden layer of our psyche, through the his analysis of the dreams. He has argued, It happens that certain material appears in the dream-content which cannot be subsequently recognized, in the waking state, as being part of one s knowledge and experience. [ ] The dreamer is therefore in the dark as to the source which the dream has tapped, and even is tempted to believe in an independent productive activity activity on the part of the dream, until, often long afterwards, a fresh episode restores the memory of that former experience, which had been given up for lost, and so reveals the source of the dream. One is therefore to admit that in the dream something was known and remembered that cannot be remembered in the waking state. (Freud, 1976, p.15) Moreover, in The Unconscious (2005), he proceeds with sayingstates that it is necessary to postulate assume the existence of the unconscious, as all the information granted by consciousness is incomplete, riddled with gaps . There exist, equally in sick and healthy people, psychic acts we witness that can only be explained if we assume the existence ofpresume other acts that we are consciously unaware of.,and assuming so On this basis, he refers not only to dreams and slips but also to ideas of unknown origin that we experience in our daily life which are the result of hidden processes and workings taking place in our psyche. (p. 50)He would imply that Iit is then clear, therefore, that there are

Comment [T1]: Small change, but the

difference is that it's dangerous to - at this stage claim something is essential without having proved it. My version only restates Freud's claim.

C n t [T2]: I cut out this line for the same reason as the section above; and because a lower word count is never a bad thing.

C n t [T3]: I've never heard of this book, and Freud certainly wasn't writing in 2005.

C n t [T4]: Again, your job is to take his theories and apply them, not necessarily to claim without evidence that they're gospel truth

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¥ ¤¤£ . most of people s problems come from the fact that we are never completely conscious about our tastes and ourselvesBased on this view. 1972. albeit in a sphere of the mind from which we are precluded in a sphere of our mind precluded to consciousness. being its subject (the unconscious) and it s object two separated entities. but lots of the sentences would have been unclear to someone who didn't already know a bit of Freud.some certain obstacles barriers deviating hindering a proper investigation of our own person selves.or even permanently . a warm body for lust. due to the disconnect between the subject (the unconscious) and the object (a thing or action perceived by the conscious mind). (Spector. Therefore. turning the voyeuristic drive towards a part of one s body and.. As Freud put it.which is a constant stimulation that seeks to be removed. followed by the process. This pressure to conformforces us to adaptwe tend to adapt to it:. Freud has stated that repression usually results when wishes. I also restructured it because the most important element of repression (and therefore the bit you should discuss first) is the purpose. and is also the most inconstant aspect of drives: an apple for hunger. In this process.tThe object is that through which this aim satisfaction can be achieved. These obstacles are the product of what he calls repression . especially sexual ones. p.. or drives . Wwe never truly understand don t know fully who we are.and we renounce to comprehend which are our real desiresrepress our true drives and natures to such a degree that we fail to even be conscious of them. (Spector. come into conflict with a person s ethical or aesthetic values. especially sexual ones.. 1972. repression usually results when wishes. We put these inclinations aside before they become properly conscious.: the pleasure-principle is what lead us. within the realm of the subconscious. The only way to remove the state of simulation is to gain the satisfaction of what drives itdrives. Finally.88)Crucially. reversal into passivity and the setting up of a new aim to be looked at . at tThe first stage of this process posits that looking is an activity directed towards another object . Society is governed by ideas of what is normal and not normal . being scrutinized by the tyrannical idea of normal . Freud presents the issue of voyeurism-exhibitionism as a reversal of the object of the drive.negate a drive all together. from which they maythat continue to seek satisfaction.thenThe next stage is relinquishing the object.Inside our organisms a constant force is manifesting.IndeedIn fact. However. Indeed. which quickly and it becomes 'oppressive' and totalitarian . markers use a system to award you points. and easy marks. we are moved by a constant strive drive to gain pleasure through the contentment of our needs. and it emanates the source of our drives. As human beings. obstacles that prevent a complete self-knowledge.88) The task process of repression is toitself involvesremove and keep unconscious placing and detainingcertain desires. As a matter of fact. governing the activity of the psychic apparatus. come into conflict with a person s ethical or aesthetic values. with this. the method of satisfaction can mutate.is the second passage that leads to tThe last final stage that is the C n t [T5]: You had all the necessary information in this paragraph already. during the process of discharge the drive can be subjected to different modifications. it might be fair to argue that . p. the impulse of a drive can experience a resistance that put it out of actionthe impact of repression can be so powerful as to temporarily . so if you can easily summarize at the end of each paragraph your conclusion (in this case that understanding the subconscious is essential in understanding the self) then you'll have a clearer essay.. not the other way around. the end result either way is that central conflicts within our personal identities are locked away in the only place we as subjects are unable to access them.

On the other hand. (p. while the subject portrayed isunaware of being watched. (p. Lacan (1977) asserts that this is an essential stage of the act of intelligence and that the assumption of his specular image by the child exhibits in an exemplary situation the symbolic matrix in which the I is precipitated in a primordial form. C n t [T6]: This is just me summing up in our words what Freud has said to show we understand it.93). their reflection and an idealized self. the figure in the mirror comes to be. About the mirror phaseSturken and Cartwright (2001) have suggested.104) Moreover. p. Indeed the camera can be considered as a medium through which the photographer can satisfy the his desire to look at people from a secure position. 2005. That's not a problem. n t [T7]: They're not always unaware.Lacan proposes that it is during the childhood that a human being starts to define his ego in thethrough his experience of looking at his own image reflected in the mirror. another psychoanalyst. we end up allowing ourselves to be the method through which other subjects satisfy their own. .Jacques Lacan. ¨ §§¦ ¨ §§¦ The opposed and interrelated concepts of voyeurism and exhibitionism are strongly connected with the practice of photography. in the same way as in the psychic reversal.72-73) In the late twentieth century. perceiving it both as their own and as something different on which they can exert power. and before the language restores to it its function as subject. the child plays with movements and senses the existence of his body as a separatedseparate entity from the environment that surrounds him or from another body. C ¨ §§¦ introduction of a new subject to whom one displays oneself in order to be looked at. and introducing the concept of the so called mirror phase . Sturken and Cartwright (2001) have stated.Lacan suggested that children fantasize about their image.23)Essentially. and the relationship between our desires and our visual world. (Freud. which you don't do until later on. of all contemporary theories that can help us understand how viewers make meaning. It is important to see how it helps ups to understand the C n t [T8]: This sounds a little bit like you're saying you've provided examples of these theories being applied. and he is able to do so through his fantasy. He continues sayingsuggests that in Freud s view the artist has the capacity to lead spectators to the satisfaction of the same unconscious wishful impulses .right? Spector (1972) has reported Freud s assertion that psychoanalysis provides information about the creative process (p. Freud suggests that rather than pursuing our own drives and objects. showing it to the spectator. This is an example of how theories of the unconscious have helped us elaborating meanings and understanding mechanisms of photography.. and thanks to the access he s he hasgot to repressed material unavailable to others. before it is objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other.1-2) It is thought that. psychoanalytic theory has addressed most directly the pleasure we derive from images. at this stage. but removing this sentence just makes it clear that you're continuing to build on Freud's theories as you move into Lacan.This relationship is reversed when in a self-portrait the artist changes his object of interest and directs the eye of the camera towards his own body. placing great deal of interest on the practice of looking.(p. We can have intense relationships with images precisely because of the power they have both to give us pleasure and to allow us to articulate our desires through looking. reviewed and developed Freud s theories of the unconscious. at the same time. In this act of recognition of his own image.

He describes the gaze as something that.75) In our everyday life. and the reason why we can so easily read images as kind of ideal. Indeed. in questions of images and desires. the gaze is specified as unapprehensible.asserting that the gaze occurs as a peculiar circumstance.very question of how we become subjects. and they are constantly being looked at from a countless number of outside points of view. so that it is possible to sell them their ideal. of all objects in which the subject may recognize his dependence in the register of desire.that object may be a subject objectifying us by staring straight back. in his speculation about on the gazeLacanhe has suggested that. (p. iIt cannot be compared to the Cartesian cogito since while the visual mental faculty exists within our own minds. Lacan (2004)has pointed out wrote more on the illusion of consciousness that the I see myself seeing myself produces. in our visual relationship with to things outside ourselves.the perception of seeing is not situated inside the subject. a term used by Lacan to describe the relationships of looking. He continues his reasoning.Therefore. symbolic of what we see within our field of vision. rendering them object. but in my existence I am looked at from all sides. there will be always another position from which things make sense. as if losing our egos we would like to identify with them. In the scopic relation. and there always are. but on the object that it detects. but which when viewed from a certain angle reveals a skull staring back at the subject. in the form of a kind of thrust of our experience . from stage to stage. owning their appearance. on the models they would like to replicate. the subject tries to adapt himself to it [ ] Furthermore. Lacan often usedHans Holbeinieronymus Bosch'sTheAmbassadorsConjurer to expound this concept: it is a painting which can be safely viewed by the subject as voyeur. It can provide a useful framework to understand the investment of tremendous power that viewers place in images. is transmitted. An important concept. (p. (p. a photo or another person .It appears clear that we needThis realisation seems to necessitate an external subject that in turn can determine identify us as subjects.83) Formatted: Default Paragraph Font Formatted: Default Paragraph Font . Indeed.Lacan (2004) has stated I see myself only from one point. weWe need first to be the object of someone else s gaze. . Especially in the field of advertisement there have been. passes. and this proposition establishes how human beings live in a world that is all-seeing . it is evident how we tend to project ourselves onto the idealized images of men and women that we seein the glossy pages of magazines. the gaze of the Other . the object on which depends the phfantasy from which the subject is suspended in an essential vacillation is the gaze [ ] From the moment that this gaze appears.73) The gaze is representative of the fact that whenever we are looking at an object .72). Moreover. we perceive objects as if they are external to us: we project our image onto the world. This way it seems Holbein want to suggest us that there is always another gaze. large studies on the way the unconscious of spectators works. and is always to some degree eluded in it . (p.. has to be introduced that is the gaze . slips. that illusion of coherence and perfection of body that the infant experimentsed with in the mirror phase is therefore replicated in the idealized image that the subject constantly seeks to own in his adulthood.be it a mirror. on their desires.

and is a clever reworking of it. the split that results from being simultaneously the surveyor and the surveyed.Often. (Lacan. But the look will be given just as well on occasion when there is a rustling of branches.84) As a matter of fact.1989. (p.54).84) The concept of the gaze has played a fundamental role in the development of inquiries within visual culture. 81)  © The mirror. the term gaze designates a particular type of look. which is structured in a way that implies the intervention of social factors such as conventions. or the slight opening of a shutter. in looking at oneself through the implied gaze of the others. p. This picture features as a source of inspiration EdouardManet s painting Un Bar aux Folies-Bergere. as he has argued. which is great. This convention can be understood if we consider that one of the primary elements of the concept of the gaze is a kind of split that viewers experience in looking at images that is. Wall borrows the internal C n t [T9]: You start providing examples of psychoanalytical theory being applied to art interpretation here. The gaze sees itself. there are neatly condensed many of the existing writings about Picture for Women. and it reflects the image of ourselves as we appear to others. and we can see everything just once. or the sound of a footstep followed by silence. because of the primacy of men as audience. Indeed. a gaze is by nature never neutral. The whole scene appears to be reflected in the mirror behind the bar. both in film studies and art history. observed by a shadowy male figure. although we can sense the presence of a big mirror. but a gaze imagined by me in the field of the Other. [ ] The mirror translates the world into an image but an image that changes to reflect the subject s movement. as Paul Klee (1961) has stated shows the opposite of the real. could you also include a sentence or so explaining you personal application of the theories? Just a little evaluation might win you some decent marks: "Critic X says this. since the viewers are confronted with a sort of optical puzzle in which. in this specific case. (Sartre. not a seen gaze. Picture for Women. describing the way in which women were depicted.The gaze is the presence of others as such. and I think Critic Y has the more useful perspective because " . 2004. but Critic Y says this. and this is the reason why it differs from a generic look. it is an object that has been frequently used in both painting and photography to determine an active relationship between the viewer and the world depicted. a barmaid gazes out of frame. authorities and power structures. one thing is certain. in still images has been relevant to discern all the diverse looks that images imply. but with their heads turned to a mirror. [ ] The gaze I encounter is. creating a complex web of viewpoints.Of course what most often manifests a look is the convergence of two ocular globes in my direction. (p. women were represented with their bodyies turned towards the spectators. always as objects of the male gaze.They trace the conventionsof paintingin the classic Western tradition. p. David Campany (2007) has reported considered the text that was accompanying the picture in a Tate Modern retrospective of the artist in which. we apprehend a scene as a reflection in a mirror.257) In the Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis. p. nothing within the frame is doubled. Sturken and Cartwright (2001) have also noticed how this concept. 2004. or a light movement of a curtain. Lacanhas clarified the description of the gaze as formulated by Jean Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness. In addition to repeating the thoughts of other critics. We are always either the subjects that give the gaze or the objects of someone else s gaze. In the Jeff Wall s photograph. networks.: In Manet s painting. (Lacan.

there is an image that is particularly interesting. he has suggested that the clear transparency of the mirror unveils viewer s and artist voyeurism. The camera between themis looking at itself in the mirror. . and motifs such as the light bulbs that give it spatial depth. or rather is looked upon by the tower. The man on the right side is gazing coyly at the mirror reflection of the woman. through peepholes placed all around the three walls of the room. and that the camera is the viewer s counterpart in the scene. at the centre a tower pierced with many windows.is are safely hidden behind the dark windows. framing the scene and recording the controversial relation of their reciprocal gazes. The point of view from which this picture has been taken is clearly a voyeuristic one. Model and photographer become both figures in the picture and simultaneously its viewers through the intercession of the mirror .the woman on the left side seems to be looking straight at the viewer but she is actually staring back at him who in fact looks as if caught by surpriseas if caught in the act.49) In the series of four diptychs made by Victor Burgin. each has two windows: one in the outer wall allows daylight to pass into it. (p.Klee (1961) has noted. nothing is concealed and its total visibility is blinding. She is being looking looked at by an audience of most probably male spectators.And hHe adds. are implicit in Manet s painting.structure of the painting. as David Campany (2007) has noted. and the woman has the absorbed gaze and posture of Manet s barmaid. Though issues of the male gaze. looks straight out at us. Moreover. in fact. and the viewer s role as onlooker. he openly shows the behind the scene usually invisible on the plane surface of photographs. (p. presumably along the photographer himself. which is an architectural plan for a prison ideated in the nineteenth century by Jeremy Bentham and described by Michel FoucaultinDiscipline& Punish. for the windows of the tower are dark and the occupants of the cell cannot know who watches. the stripper is unaware of who is watching her. (p. in front of a wide mirror. The text is relatedto the image with sharp irony. This is the description of the PenitentiaryPanopticon. The building consists of cells. or if anyone watches.48) To conclude.13) The composition is perfectly arranged in a play of gazes where the predominance of the male gaze dissolves together with stereotypical hierarchies of gender roles. Everything is explicit in this image. There is shown a woman inside a strip club in Berlin. On the right side of the image there is a text saying: The plan is circular: at the periphery. The spatial/optical order laid out in the text is the inverse of the one we see in Burgin s photograph. The figures are similarly reflected in a mirror. another in the inner wall looks onto the tower. Wall updates the theme by positioning the camera at the centre of the work. particularly the power relationship between male artist and female model. The birth of The Prison. while the man is the artist himself. so that it captures the act of making the image (the scene reflected in the mirror) and. [ ] Even so the situations they describe are part of the same scopic regime . an anular building. its entire procedure is avowed. andplaying with the space in a game of illusionism between flatness and depth. dancing on a round revolving table. called Zoo. a regime that is at once diagrammatic. at the same time. whereas the public.

but also.. 95) With these things in mind.Campany D. The Thinking Eye.FreudS. The Unconscious. The versatility of the photographic image thus spawned a broad array of image-making activities for the purpose of surveillance. .London: Penguin Books Ltd . it seems quite reasonable that a true understanding of ourselves might be markedly obscured by the reactions of our unconscious minds to the perceived threats of social stigma and institutional oppression. He explores the way in which institutional gazes act by normalizing people's behaviour through the exertion of an invisible power.Klee P. Without the tools to look directly inward at the one part of ourselves that must always be off limits. in fact. Oxford Art Journal.. on a broader scale. (1961). there is no need to for physical threats or body punishment because of the presence of an imagined superior gaze that people internalize as the guardian of their conduct. Moreover. and to observe others in such a way as to make us intimately aware of our own selves. BIBLIOGRAPHY: . Sturken and Cartwright (2001) have suggested that since its invention.and a psychoanalytical framework through which to interpret it . The work of Michel Foucault is useful to in understanding how the concept of the gaze is tightly connected. (2007). 3rd Edition. 30 January. not only with matters of interpersonal relationships between singular subjects. photography has been always been used by bureaucratic institutions as an integral and fundamental tool in the regulation of social behaviour. (p. We can now begin to see how considerable is the power of images within human society and how they have been always play a central role in affecting and shaping our mind. London: Lund Humphries. resulting in Freud's repression. . with social and power issues. 7-25.. (2005). In his theories he describes systems working as machines of the gaze . NC: Hayes Barton Press . discussing theories on how the unconscious mind affects our understanding of photography does not only include that photography intended for 'artistic' purposes.FreudS. 20) Of course. (p. (1976). photography . Raleigh. Its rise.architectural and rooted in the hegemonic orders of power and social subjectivity. The Interpretation of Dreams. coincided with the rise of the modern political state. regulation and categorization. A theoretical diagram in an empty classroom: Jeff Wall s Picture for Women. It is therefore expressed the necessity of the support that theories of the unconscious have given in clarifying the hidden and subtle mechanism of making and perceiving photography..presents an opportunity to escape the vicious circle: to both put our own selves on show as objects for the interest of others.

.Lacan J. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. London: H.Lacan J. Practices of Looking: an Introduction to Visual Culture. New York: Praeger Publishers. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis.. (2001). London: Tavistock Publications Limited .CartwrightL. ... Karnac (Books) Ltd . London: Routledge . The Aesthetic of Freud: A Study in Psychoanalysis and art. J. Being and Nothingness. (2004). .Sartre.. .SturkenM. P. (1975).SpectorJack J. Ecrits. (1977).(1989)...

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