Techniques of vision: photography practices and the governing of subjectivities




Lewis, Goldwyn

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This thesis explores how photography has been used in the governing of subjectivities and draws on the following three forms of governmentality identified by Michel Foucault: biopower, discipline and ethics. In photography's early history discourses on character and insanity privileged visual observation and the camera was used as a more precise extension of the clinician's eye. With the emergence of Freud's "talking cure" the use of still-photography in treatment and diagnosis was generally neglected until the 1970s when the medium was re-configured as an ideal technique for accessing the unconscious. Currently Phototherapy clients, with the aid of a therapist, use personal photos in order to identify and modify problematic aspects of self. I draw on Michel Foucault's second and third period work in order to investigate these shifting relationships of photography to subjectivity.



photography in psychotherapy, Michel Foucault