Dissertation

Handout made for the work in progress seminar;

Katy Lewis

(BAHONS) Contemporary Photographic Arts Practice

The Psychology of the Snapshot

This seminar is intended to take you through my thought process as well as introduce my chosen subject area.

MAIN AIM:  A discussion around whether the written theories and ideas which relate specifically to the family snapshot photograph such as time, memory and identity, still apply in the age of digital, and if so to what extent.

 CHAPTER ONE: WHY PHOTOGRAPH?

 Chapter one asks questions such as what motivates us to photograph, specifically in a private context. Is it to preserve and remember? Is it because of a connection between the thing photographed and the thing itself? Does photography have the ability to quote directly from life in a unique way? How about the notion of nostalgia and melancholy? What of the contradiction that far from preserving life, photography is actually the ultimate reflection of death?

 CHAPTER TWO: IDENTITY AND SELF

 A intended look at how the snapshot provides us with a sense of Identity and belonging, and how this is universally applicable. Here I consider Jacque Lacan’s mirror stage theory in relation to the work of artists such as Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman.

For the photograph is the advent of myself as other: a cunning dislocation of consciousness from identity.”   Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, Pg 12

CHAPTER THREE: TOWARDS THE FUTURE

 Speculation on the future of the snapshot in the age of digital.  What is kept and what is lost of our understanding of the snapshot as it has been traditionally viewed and what has/will it become? How will we store our images and what becomes of their value when their material quality is lost?

 RESEARCH:

Books; Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, John Berger, Linda Berman, Vilem Flusser, Hal Foster, Michel Foucault,  Sean Homer, Rosalind Krauss, Jacques Lacan, Celia Lury, Jean Mohr, Susan Sonntag, Jo Spence and Joan Soloman, Liz Wells. Periodicals; Afterimage, Photoworks, DVD; BBC4 – small objects of desire, BBC4 Thoroughly Modern – the snapshot camera, BBC4 – The Genius of Photography – we are family, snap judgments, Primary; Sonja Campbell interview, Stephen Bull, interview and book, Kevin Bacon for lives less photographed at Brighton Museum


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