The Death Detectives came out of an exhibition and event at the Photographer’s Gallery in London, where the usual suspects talked about, urm, death. This was the fastest selling event in the Gallery’s history, something you would not have put money on. Since when did a bunch of psychoanalytically minded folk staring into the abyss attract such a crowd?
Freud talked about the practice of psychoanalysis as like the work of a detective. Fragments and remains – unconscious and conscious – offer us evidence for the stories of our lives that have become obscured. Investigating the details of the psychic crime scenes a way to uncover our reality. Forensic photography, like psychoanalysis, aimed to develop a protocol – the rules by which photography can be considered factual and providing evidence. The scientific nature of such protocols is contested terrain in both photography and psychoanalysis, whether links can be made between the forensic details to the now hidden course of events.
This event took place just two weeks after the Paris shootings in 2015. The political and social crisis that November 13th is part of came close to the world of photography, happening at the time of Paris Photo. with many people from the photography world including staff from The Photographer’s Gallery there during the crisis.
My own blog “The Scene of the Crime” is about being in Paris on that night with my twin, is one of the most painful things I’ve ever written. It still hurts to read it.
The exhibition and the ideas we were responding to, Burden of Proof, were curated in France coming out of a powerful French intellectualism, unafraid of conceptualism and complexity. This position that promotes ideas and their everyday use to understand human experience is one that we should cherish.
The Death Detectives event and the eBook that accompanies it, were motivated by the belief that by allowing the knowledge of death into our lives we can live life more fully. Together.
This eBook includes contributions from Martina Caruso, Steve Fuller, Matt Give, Anthony Luvera, David Morgan, Angela Eden, Philip Stokoe, Tom DeRose, and me.
To download the eBook for free click HERE.
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