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Photography and the Optical Unconscious By Shawn Michelle Smith

Photography and the Optical Unconscious by Shawn Michelle Smith

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Summary

This volume's contributors use Walter Benjamin's concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency, thereby opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche.

Photography and the Optical Unconscious Summary

Photography and the Optical Unconscious by Shawn Michelle Smith

Photography is one of the principal filters through which we engage the world. The contributors to this volume focus on Walter Benjamin's concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency. In essays that range from examinations of Benjamin's and Sigmund Freud's writings to the work of Kara Walker and Roland Barthes's famous Winter Garden photograph, the contributors explore what photography can teach us about the nature of the unconscious. They attend to side perceptions, develop latent images, discover things hidden in plain sight, focus on the disavowed, and perceive the slow. Of particular note are the ways race and colonialism have informed photography from its beginning. The volume also contains photographic portfolios by Zoe Leonard, Kelly Wood, and Kristan Horton, whose work speaks to the optical unconscious while demonstrating how photographs communicate on their own terms. The essays and portfolios in Photography and the Optical Unconscious create a collective and sustained assessment of Benjamin's influential concept, opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche.

Contributors. Mary Bergstein, Jonathan Fardy, Kristan Horton, Terri Kapsalis, Sarah Kofman, Elisabeth Lebovici, Zoe Leonard, Gabrielle Moser, Mignon Nixon, Thy Phu, Mark Reinhardt, Shawn Michelle Smith, Sharon Sliwinski, Laura Wexler, Kelly Wood, Andres Mario Zervigon

Photography and the Optical Unconscious Reviews

A diverse collection of essays and artists' portfolios. . . . Overall, Photography and the Optical Unconscious is a compelling read, one that points to the significant amount of work remaining to be done with regards to the optical unconscious. -- Shandell Houslden * TOPIA *

About Shawn Michelle Smith

Shawn Michelle Smith is Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the author of At the Edge of Sight: Photography and the Unseen and Photography on the Color Line: W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture, both also published by Duke University Press.

Sharon Sliwinski is Associate Professor of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario and author of Mandela's Dark Years: A Political Theory of Dreaming and Human Rights in Camera.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction / Shawn Michelle Smith and Sharon Sliwinski 1
1. Photography's Weimar-Era Proliferatino and Walter Benjamin's Optical Unconscious / Andres Mario Zervigon 32
2. A Hiding Place in Waking Dreams: David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson, and Walter Benjamin's Little History of Photography / Shawn Michelle Smith 48
3. Freud: The Photographic Apparatus / Sarah Kofman 75
4. To Adopt: Freud, Photography, and the Optical Unconscious / Jonathan Fardy 81
5. The Politics of Contemplation / Zoe Leonard and Elisabeth Lebovici 93
6. Freud, Saturn, and the Power of Hypnosis / Mary Bergstein 104
7. On the Couch / Mignon Nixon 134
8. Vision's Unseen: On Sovereignty, Race, and the Optical Unconscious / Mark Reinhardt 174
9. Sligo Heads / Kristan Horton 223
10. Developing Historical Negatives: The Colonial Photographic Archive as Optical Unconscious / Gabrielle Moser 229
11. The Purloined Image / Laura Wexler 264
12. The Vancouver Carts: A Brief Memoire / Kelly Wood 281
13. Vietnamese Photography and the Look of Revolution / Thy Phu 286
14. Shooting in the Dark: A Note on the Photographic Imagination / Sharon Sliwinski 321
15. Slow / Terri Kapsalis 339
Contributors 363
Index 367

Additional information

NPB9780822369011
9780822369011
082236901X
Photography and the Optical Unconscious by Shawn Michelle Smith
New
Paperback
Duke University Press
20170526
392
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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