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Sliwinski, S. (2011). Air War and Dream: Photographing the London Blitz. Am. Imago, 68(3):489-516.

(2011). American Imago, 68(3):489-516

Air War and Dream: Photographing the London Blitz

Sharon Sliwinski

This paper treats Lee Miller's photographs of the London Blitz as a species of dream, which is to say, the Surrealist's images are regarded as a special form of thinking in which the conflicts and horrors of the times are represented in an effort to discharge their destructive force. This treatment calls upon Freud's discussion of dream-work, but also upon Didier Anzieu and Wilfred Bion's later writings, which consider the defensive and protective qualities of oneiric life. Miller's photography, like dream, provides a glimpse into the interior dimension of human existence. The essay argues that this interior dimension provides protection not only from inner psychological and biological traumas, but also from social and political aggression. In the era of air war, photography provides a powerful tool of civil defense.

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