Exploration of the shadow in photography, psychoanalysis and astronomy

I was completely blown away at a recent Photography Gallery talk inspired by ‪Viviane Sassen‬’s work and her exploration of her internal shadow world. Links were made about the ‘shadow’ between an astronomer (Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich), a psychoanalyst (David Morgan, Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst) and a master curator of photography (Simon Baker, Curator of Photography, Tate Modern). It was a fusion of three fields that fascinate me.

Photography as the art of ‘fixing the shadow’, the basic coordinates and building blocks of photography. Photographic art as a way to symbolise the deep and dark fears in an attempt to understand them and to recover from the mental ill health that can occur from the inability to speak of them (Moriyma’s return to the basic blocks of black and white photography during recovery from deep grief) NSFW: http://www.moriyamadaido.com/english/.

The shadow (Jung) as the deep inner psychic space to which all unthinkable things in our experience, illiciting deep conflicting emotions, are split off and assigned to. The shadow as projected onto others, who carry these shadow distressing emotions for us until we can take them back and recover our real selves. http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/coping/projection.htm

The shadow as the other side to the detection of light in the universe. The dark side of the moon, the dark energy and dark matter of outer space, that constitutes 75% of the universe and is unknown, or only ‘known’ because of its relationship to light – the absence of it. The disturbance that comes from staring deep into the hubble photo showing a chronotope tunnel of 9 billion years of the development of our universe – and only ‘seeing’ a fraction of what we are a part of. Not being able to know who or how we are without also knowing the shadows that we are a part of.

In all, our need to explore the shadows in our internal and external world, will only contribute to a deeper knowledge of ourselves and our place in the universe. This kind of cross fertilisation of ideas between disciplines is the bedrock of creating original thought, it’s exciting to see mirrors between fields. http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/home.