I found this photograph on the internet. I sold my Flexaret a few months ago. I came across this picture while looking up the camera model. She is beautiful, no? Sometimes I just sit at my computer and stare at her hips. The way the soft lens of the camera engraves the light into the film is incredible. I love the hazy beach background covered in fog, as well. In fact, I think about this photo so much, that I tried to channel it when taking my own photographs of Haley on the Dunes of Mendocino. I think I did an OK job with creating a similar feel between the images. I was using a Diana my sister got me and not a Flexaret I assume was used for the prime image. The plastic is too soft and the distortion too heavy, but it was fun nonetheless. I have so many small obsessions like this. Little mysteries that I try to duplicate in order to gain a greater understanding. What is it about soft black and white photographs that make them seem so dreamy? If the oneiric nature of photography is obvious, then the connection to death is implicit.
In mythology, the Oneiroi were the three sons of Hypnos, the god of sleep. They lived on the border of the Underworld and were the rulers of visions, the personifications of dreams. Morpheus (the root of the drug morphine) was the sculptor of dreams and had the ability to take any human’s form; Phobetor (root of phobia) orchestrated nightmares; and Phantasos (root of fantasy and phantasmagoria) produced tricky and unreal dreams. The twin brother of Hypnos was Thanatos or Death.
Susan Sontag writes, “Photographs tend to transform, whatever their subject; and as an image something may be beautiful—or terrifying, or unbearable, or quite bearable—as it is not in real life.” In fact, the collapsing act of photography pulls an image deep into the bosom of the underworld. We’ve all learned from our collective education to depreciate images, to concentrate rather on ideas, conceptual formations, and to assume that the psyche and the ego are equivalent. This has the effect of blinding us to the reality of the psyche as an autonomous, objective entity. It is through photography, cinema and dreams that we make contact with this strange creature, or at least, witness its functions and habits at close hand. The psyche is a wild beast, and like any other beast, it hungers. To understand its needs, we must observe the environment in which it thrives: the dream. What we eat in dreams is not food but images; we possess a psychic need for nourishing images. It is the consumption of images that fascinates me, and it is here that I will attempt to flesh out certain phenomena intrinsic to the digestive process of my own psyche.