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Fox, H.M. (1957). Body Image of a Photographer. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 5:93-107.

(1957). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 5:93-107

Body Image of a Photographer

Henry M. Fox, M.D.

The body image reflects an individual's awareness of his anatomical structure but also symbolizes his picture of himself as a person. It indicates the spatial relationship of the body to the outside world but also expresses the nature of the person's psychological investment in objects outside of himself. As Schilder (9) stated, "we shall have a variation in the structure of the body-image according to the psychosexual tendencies of the individual." In the same paragraph he emphasizes the importance of the eyes as a part of the body image and remarks that they symbolize an opening through which the world enters into ourselves in accordance with the old Epicurean doctrine that pictures wander into our eyes from objects around us.

Psychoanalysis of a photographer demonstrated that he had made use of his camera to gratify voyeuristic and exhibitionistic impulses with relative impunity as well as to achieve active visual focus on the external world. Photography had become a regressive substitute for vision, and his camera served as a mechanism for the control of visual intake and for the establishment of psychic distance. This illustrated the function of the psychic apparatus as described by Freud (5) in Chapter VII of The Interpretation of Dreams where he compared the instrument which serves the psychic activities to a compound microscope or to a photographic camera. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud (6) states that "for the living organism, protection against stimuli is almost a more important task than reception of stimuli." Fenichel (3), in "Early Perception and Primary Identification," remarks that "as long as intensive stimuli from the outside world flood the organism, the organism experiences this passively.

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