Lost and (Re)found: Found Snapshots and the Uncanny as a Return of the Repressed

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för konsthistoria och visuella studier

Sammanfattning: Anonymous forms of non-art photography have received a great deal of attention in recent years. Museum exhibitions and published compilations of what is commonly referred to as ‘vernacular photography’ have appeared regularly since the late 1990s. An interest in photographs produced by anonymous amateurs is further reflected in the growing popularity of collecting snapshots that have been lost or discarded by strangers. This thesis is an investigation of so-called ‘found snapshots’, guided by Sigmund Freud’s concept of the uncanny as a return of the repressed. While most current research is focused on representing them as aesthetic objects or cultural artifacts, this thesis is concerned with how anonymous snapshots are perceived by individuals. To develop an understanding of found snapshots and their reception in terms of the uncanny, this thesis takes a multidisciplinary approach in which theoretical texts related to psychoanalysis, photography, and art history are used in conjunction with articles, interviews, and other non-academic sources that address the subject of anonymous snapshots and the interests individuals have in collecting them. This thesis begins with an introduction to the snapshot genre of photography and the practice of collecting found snapshots before turning to Freud’s influential 1919 essay on the uncanny, ‘Das unheimliche’, to introduce and explain the concept that acts as its unifying theme. In the text that follows, the uncanny is used as a tool to explore the reception of found snapshots as both images and objects. As a whole, this thesis seeks to contribute a new perspective to the body of knowledge about anonymous forms of amateur photography and to demonstrate the research potential of this under-theorized area of visual culture.

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