In my paper I am looking intothe photographic image in its function of documenting the death and how this affects our present usage of the medium of photography. By tracing several theoreticians in their description about photography, I am looking into the function of the photographic image to trace mortality, while I am mainly focusing on Roland Barthes Camera Lucidaand the notions he has introduced in his study. Barthes’ account on photography as ‘monstrosity’ is of particular interest to my research and how it emphasizes on the mortality function of photography, i.e. Barthes ‘that-has-been’. Based on this research, we can trace that death has always been connected to photography and the photographic image, which is why I am looking into Freud’s death drive and how it is connected in the contemporary photography.Of significance for my research is Hans Belting and his Anthropology of Images, where his thesis on the occurrence of death at the moment of photographing.I am looking into two case studies on American photographers Francesca Woodman and Vivien Maier, in particular to their self photography images, whose theatricality invokes the unheimlich, or the uncanny in the viewer; with an emphasis on Woodman, whose self images show the traumatic potential of photography.My research concludes with a return to Freud and his notion of repetition in other to overwrite the pleasure principle, which I use in the sense of photography to prove that the images, which themselves are momento mori, and photography experience a constant death and reanimation and how by staging our images, we are trying to overwrite the death drive, Thanatos.
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