Gods – Photographs

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If you could photograph a god, what would a god look like? Naked and chiaroscuro. Anthropomorphic, not apophatic. Not the god-itself, and not the first figure of a god in the form of an icon or idol, but the image and the mental construct of a nude marble figure or the fragment of a figure emerging life-like out of the gloom. At least that’s how they look in photographs at the fin de siècle. At two steps even further removed, I photographed these photographs of photographs of the gods from Mary Bergstein, who took these photographs from books that Freud had in his library. She published them as part of the visual argument about Freud and photography in Mirrors of Memory. Odd, I think, that for Freud, they seem to be overwhelmingly female, which I’m noticing just now as I touch up and finish this post. I’m willing to entertain the possibility that I definitely got something wrong about Freud on this particular score, namely the god which for him turns out, actually,  to be a female figure. Not what I expected. But in any case, the photographs are indeed “divine.”

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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1 Response to Gods – Photographs

  1. Alan Brill says:

    Not only are they the female divine, but they are perfect as ideal perfections. Ask the question here on the Ganges and you get multiple extra body parts, infinitive regressions,horrific and grotesque elements, or little blue infants. Not Freud’s ideal projection.

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