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Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma (MIT Press)

Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma (MIT Press)
Author: Ulrich Baer
ISBN 13: 9780262524476
ISBN 10: 262524473
Edition: N/A
Publisher: The MIT Press
Publication Date: 2005-09-23
Format: Paperback
Pages: 218
List Price: $32.95

An original analysis of the parallels between the arrested moment in photography and in the traumatized psyche.

Library Journal

Applying psychoanalytical theory to photo criticism, Baer (German, NYU) makes comparisons between the notion of the photograph's "arrested moment" and how the human psyche processes trauma. He draws from Freud, Barthes, Benjamin, and Charcot, as well as recent studies in trauma, to prove that images representing a traumatic history lack the concept of "future" and forward movement that characterizes conventional documentary photographs. Traumatic memory, like the camera, freezes the moment and removes it from the forward motion of linear time. Instead of sensational images, as the title might suggest, Baer uses seemingly commonplace photographs to illustrate his ideas, thus placing the viewer in the role of witness instead of innocent onlooker. Ultimately, Baer is able to support his premise by establishing the connection between the concept of trauma and the development of the photograph, making this research original as well as timely. Baer is the editor of No One Bears Witness for the Witness: The Culture of Memory and Historical Responsibility after the Shoah and the forthcoming 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11. The current volume contains an extensive bibliography and notes and is recommended for graduate and research collections. [Baer is an LJ reviewer. Ed.] Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ. Lib., PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.