Photography and psychoanalysis: two years, three cities, five encounters


An initiative of the Bulgarian Society of Lacanian Psychoanalysis on the theme of the encounters of Photography and Psychoanalysis began in 2015 in co-operation with the psychoanalytic institute “TOLK”.

It was established because photography is the name of a desire shared by many among us, as was the desire to extend psychoanalysis beyond the clinical field. This activity, conceived and realised in the form of an opening to the public and the introduction of new forms of activities, opens a space for the presentations of texts and photos, animated by a subjective relation to photography, in everyday life or at work, which belongs to invention, to the elaboration of a singular way of being on the part of the contemporary subject.

Five people gave eight different presentations during the first two years. Each one was a unique testimony of the personal and singular encounter with photography, of the subjective position in the photographic act and of the original discourse of individual experience. Thus, Vessela Banova discovers her passion for photographing birds during her journeys to visit children’s institutions in Bulgaria; and it is thanks to her passion for photographing birds that she rediscovers the value of observation and attention to singularity. Katya Stoycheva, on the other hand, explores the empty space of the riverbank, where ones’ body, experiences and thoughts may be lodged. She uses the eye of the camera to establish a frame, making the reflected image a composition created by the subject.

For Milena Popova, the personal encounter with photography involves an encounter with the twofold nature of light: that which reveals the world and hides it at the same time, something which sends us real images of the world as well as the illusions it has produced. Daniela Gradeva, for her part, dedicated her poetic text, which she rhythms and rhymes alongside photos at the sea – the sea with the fluidity of its multiple transformations, the limits that meet the limitlessness of the seaside, where we encounter life, our subjective world and the passing of time. Snejanka Dimitrova associates her relation to photography to the experience of love – such as being present in the here and now and feeling alive – as well as psychoanalysis – through the original expression of the subject both in the analytical process and in a creative activity.

For each one words and images were knotted in a particular manner to their subjective experience. However, little by little, over the course of the meetings common themes begin to emerge – starting from daily life, a lively relation to nature, the journey as an exploration and not as a destination –and shared signifiers emerge – allowing oneself to be without a goal to reach; the freedom to see what attracts ones gaze, the camera as an ally in front of the moment and immensity.

The five encounters held in Sofia, Ruse and Varna in 2015-2016 were true in this, with the risk of pushing the limits of our previous activities and the joy of discovering a new field to be ploughed by many. Our reflections revolved around these questions: what is it necessary to say about my subjective relation to photography? Where is the place of psychoanalysis in my passion for photography and how to knot the two? To whom and of what do we speak when we speak about photos? What do we offer to the people who come to listen to our texts and look at our photos, who welcome our initiative and our desire?

Questions that continue to animate our relation to photography and to support our desire on the path ahead.

Translated by Yannis Grammatopoulos

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