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Gerald, M. (2016). The Relational Image: Creating a Psychoanalytic Photographic Portrait. Psychoanal. Psychol., 33S(Supplement):S198-S214.

(2016). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 33S(Supplement):S198-S214

The Relational Image: Creating a Psychoanalytic Photographic Portrait

Mark Gerald, Ph.D.

I use the experience of the creation of one image in the photographic series, “In the Shadow of Freud's Couch,” to illustrate my thinking about the creative process and what I call the relational image. The creation of relational images occur in art and psychoanalysis, where each party sees something new in the other, that was formerly protected from sight. The photographer-psychoanalyst and the subject-psychoanalyst, through meetings and email correspondence, share personal connections to loss and fear of death. Together they create a new image that honors their mourning. A primary thesis of this paper is that seeing, as both a sensory activity and as a precondition for recognition, is made clearer and goes deeper when it is linked with the experience of death and loss and the capacity to survive and create.

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