Photography Monotheism (Amenhotep IV)


This is what monotheism looks like. As represented by a portrait of Amenhotep IV from the Cairo Museum and then photographed, monotheism is an old, stony, taut, and angular profile, a photographic image of an original graven image,  hovering over and against a black background. The picture is from Georg Steindorf’s Die Blütezeit des Pharaonenreihcs (1900). Mary Bergstein included it in Mirrors of Memory, her book on Freud, memory, and photography. Not copy-realism, but copy-surrealism, I am drawn here to the notion that you can photograph religion and religious figures, and that this brings into relation the presentation and representation of religion and the history of style and stylization, in this case from the bloom-time of ancient Egypt and fin de siècle Europe.

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.
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