Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Photos and Identity

For a book coming out in Belgrade in late October, the editor of Stubovi Kulture asked for a photograph of me to pair with a photo he had of my co-author Zarko Radakovic. I sent him several photos, each worse than the last; and after the email with attachments had been sent, I was left wondering, again, about photos and identity.

Today in Alex's and my class on language, we discussed a section of Michel Foucault's book "The Order of Things" in which he noted that a mirror image is a natural sign. It made sense in his context, but in the context of these photos, which one is a representation of the natural "me"?

None of them, of course, even touches who I am. They get at my grey hair and aging skin and show me in different poses. But I am as much psychological turmoil as I am a physical body and only a physiognomist with the Swiss pastor Lavater's insight could pair the two.


Jorgen said...

"A picture is worth a thousand words" right? But, then again, a word is equally worth a thousand pictures. So I would guess that identity is really just a concept that we conveniently use to bring us back to the natural (I could be wrong, it could be the opposite). But we use "identity" to show that we intend a 1-to-1 function of meaning, since it can be taken so many ways.

A picture entitled either "This is Me" or "This is Scott" or "This is a Picture" all display the same "THIS IS" image, the difference is in what we want the recipient of the picture to understand about the subject of it. "THIS IS???" would lead the observer to be more analytical in finding out just what "IT" is. Identity is a haphazard signification... sometimes.

deutschlehrer said...

send the shadow picture in for the publicity photo. that will make them think. Very cave-allegory-esque

michael morrow said...

If you could put the suited smile on the shadow, perfection,,,,,,,,I vote for the smile, with it, the suite fits a little/much better