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Mellos, D. (2013). Unfrozen Moments: A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Uses of Photographs. Psychoanal. Psychol., 30(2):329-338.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(2):329-338

Mitchell Award

Unfrozen Moments: A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Uses of Photographs

Dimitri Mellos

Some of the psychological functions of photography as an everyday cultural practice are explored from a psychoanalytic perspective. Photographs are special representational objects charged with emotional significance, and people may enter into a variety of psychologically meaningful and consequential interactions with them. It is proposed that photographs function as the equivalent of screen memories, thus channeling the subject's memory in ways that are objectively skewed but psychologically important; moreover, they are a special kind of screen memory, in that they are often created preemptively and are physically instantiated. Some parallels are drawn between photographs and transitional objects, and the role of photographs in processing and metabolizing, or, alternatively, defensively disavowing loss and transience is briefly explored.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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