Photography & The Uncanny


This essay discusses the medium of photography through the application of psychoanalysis: it attempts to demonstrate how photography can be constructed as 'uncanny' on a theoretical level.
Thus it describes what is understood by the term 'uncanny' specifically from Sigmund Freud's essay Das Unheimliche ('The Uncanny'), how this relates to photography and how the idea of the 'uncanny' has been interpreted in later theory. To relate the 'uncanny' to photography, the subject of photography is considered with reference to Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida; concerning the semiotics of photography, which has relevance in the confusion of the symbolic and imaginary in the uncanny, and his discussion of how the presence of Death is felt in the Photograph, which in turn relates back to the concept of the double, as an aspect of the uncanny, and how this informs our understanding of photography.

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©copyright 2005 Nicholas Middleton