Photographic body. Photograph, Face and Bodily Schematicism


Mika Elo

The article ponders the relations between image, body, and thinking and outlines the photographic conditions of ‘bodily skematicism’. Hereby, Martin Heidegger’s ontological interpretation of Kantian schematicism and his epistemocritical view on thinking make up the main points of reference. The schematic operation of photography and its relation to body as the locus of thinking is further differentiated with help of the structural parallel between the photographic act and the linguistic shifter function pointed out by Jean-Luc Nancy.

The article concludes that it is a certain withdrawal that connects image, body and thinking with each other. As an imaginal force this withdrawal constitutes at the same time both exposition of thinking and partitioning of the “we” of viewers. Photography exposes us to our finite existence that is always a co-existence of the “we others”. As an exposure the photograph is a reminder of this partitioning, a “photographic body”. As a remainder it marks a shift from the world of natural bodies to the world of real bodies that in their constitution are exposed to contamination and the realm of part-objects and prostheses. As a case in point the article analyzes the way in which Abbas Kiarostami’s film Shirin (Iran, 2008) stages exposition of thinking and partitioning of the audience.