The Other Side of the Image
The Gaze as Viewed by Freud and Lacan
Claudia Iddan’s book
It has been claimed that images, especially photographs, that which is seen, have a decisive influential power; that a single photograph can outweigh a thousand words.
Indeed, a photograph’s ability to fascinate in immense, and therein lies its strength. There is a direct relation between the image’s strength and the extent to which it can delude and mislead us. On the other hand, images are those that express our intimate truth via dreams, they serve as another path for the emergence of the unconscious. What is, then, the other side of the image, of that which his seen? It is the activity of the drive, which enabled the delineation of the object in psychoanalysis as one that is created and receives its status by its very loss. These relations between visibility and lack of visibility raise numerous questions. This book offers two major directions for addressing the questions evoked by the imaginary dimension.
One direction is connected to the gaze in general and the way it has been conceptualized in psychoanalysis according to Freud and Lacan. Freud did not explicitly single out the gaze as an object alongside the other objects introduced by him (oral, anal, and phallic); Lacan singled out the gaze and added it the list of objects alongside the voice and nothingness. Claudia Iddan‘s book tries to unfold different aspects the touch upon the essence of the object gaze – that exist already in Freud’s work and are accentuated by Lacan – that establish it as a paradigm for the formation of the object.
The second direction includes touching upon photographic material from the period of Second World War, period of the Holocaust, and consider the part played by the gaze therein. For that purpose, several photographers were selected, representing different points of view: German photographers that acted on behalf of the Nazi ministry of propaganda, a Jewish photographer, George Kaddish, who was active in Kovna Ghetto, and the photographer Lee Miller, who accompanied the Allied troops on the invasion to Normandy and the liberation of the concentration camps.