Seeing death : portraiture in contemporary postmortem photography

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Richards, Colin en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Josephy, Svea en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Higgins, Josephine en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-10-06T14:17:26Z
dc.date.available 2015-10-06T14:17:26Z
dc.date.issued 2013 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Higgins, J. 2013. Seeing death : portraiture in contemporary postmortem photography. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14152
dc.description.abstract This thesis focuses on the aesthetics of the photographic representation of the actual dead body in Elizabeth Heyert's The Travelers (2004), Pieter Hugo's The Bereaved (2005) and Walter Schels and Beate Lakotta's Life Before Death: Portraits of the Dying (2004). The use of portraiture in each of these artist's series is crucial as it suggests an interest in the 'subjectness' of the corpse. Katarzyna Majak's (2011) theory of socialization as an attempt to lessen the scandal of the corpse through representation is central throughout this thesis. Majak argues that for the viewer the corpse is a scandal, because it discomfortingly presents the transformation of a body from subject to object. For Majak, socialization is essentially the taming of the dead body, achieved by re-presenting the corpse as an individual. Socialization emphasizes the subject-ness of the deceased individual, rather than the object-ness of the corpse, of pure unadulterated matter. The use of portraiture in each of the above series socializes the corpse by presenting the individual identity of the deceased as a subject, in varying degrees. Death is approached through the recognizable conventions of portraiture itself, thereby to some extent taming or domesticating the corpse. This thesis expands on Majak's valuable theory by establishing a continuum of socialization from subject-ness to object-ness. Importantly, this continuum reveals varying degrees of socialization within the three series. Socialization is used here as an analytical tool with which to explore the photographs, drawing out similarities and differences. I argue that through various aesthetic techniques, these three series encourage the viewer to look at these different images of the corpse with varying degrees of comfort. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Fine Art en_ZA
dc.title Seeing death : portraiture in contemporary postmortem photography en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Michaelis School of Fine Art en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname MFA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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