Living with His Camera

Living with His Camera

Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: 27 b&w photos Published: May 2003

Author: Jane Gallop

Subjects
Environmental Studies, General Interest > Travel, Natural Sciences

Photography is usually written about from the point of view of either the photographer or the viewer. Living with His Camera offers a perspective rarely represented—that of the photographed subject. Dick Blau has been making art photographs of the people he lives with for more than thirty years; cultural theorist Jane Gallop has been living with him—and his camera—for twenty years.

Living with His Camera is Gallop’s nuanced meditation on photography and the place it has in her private life and in her family. A reflection on family, it attempts—like Blau’s photographs themselves—to portray the realities of family life beyond the pieties of conventional representations. Living with His Camera is about some of the most pressing issues of visuality and some of the most basic issues of daily life. Gallop considers intimate photographs of moments both dramatic and routine: of herself giving birth to son Max or crying in the midst of an argument with Blau, pouring herself cereal as Max colors at the breakfast table, or naked, sweeping the floor. With her trademark candor, humor, and critical acumen, Gallop mixes personal reflection with close readings of Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida, Susan Sontag’s On Photography, Kathryn Harrison’s novel Exposure, and Pierre Bourdieu’s Photography.

Presenting his photographs and her text, Living with His Camera is a portrait of a couple whose professional activity is part of their private lives and whose private life is viewed through their professional gazes. While most of us set aside rigorous thought when we turn to the sentimental realm of home life, Gallop and Blau look at each other not only with great affection but also with the keen focus of a sharp, critical gaze.

Praise

“[Gallop’s] ruminations on the emotional and intellectual contradictions of being mother, partner and public intellectual are consistently probing, self-aware and generous—even gushing when her children are involved—and always intrepid about issues of anger and doubt.” — Publishers Weekly

"[A]n approachable and engaging book. Written in an astonishingly personal and self-aware voice, Gallop manages to engae the reader while simultaneously tackling the somewhat heady writings of Barthes' Camera Lucida, Sontag's On Photography, Kathryn Harrison's novel Exposure, and Pierre Bourdieu's Photography. — N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Photovision

"Blau's talent for finding the perfect picture in the mundane moment is evident from the many photos presented with the text -- what makes them stand out is Gallop's commentary, both as subject and as scholar. . . . In combining this very candid view of her body with her very candid thoughts, Gallop ends up creating her own self-portrait -- more vivid than any camera could capture."

— Liz Miller, Bookslut

"Gallop's book provides more than a presentation of a unique domestic life. It is an intersection of her ideas and scholarship . . . and her private life. She uses her experiences and Blau's photographs as an unusual plumb line against which she tests theories on photography, sociology, culture, feminism, literature and art, among other things." — Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jane Gallop is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the author of numerous works including Around 1981: Academic Feminist Literary Theory and Thinking through the Body. Her books Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment and Anecdotal Theory are published by Duke University Press. Dick Blau is Professor in the Department of Film at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He has published two books of photography, Polka Happiness and Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia. Blau’s photographs of his family have been featured in journals including Frame/Work, Discourse, and Dreamworks.

Jane Gallop is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the author of numerous works including Around 1981: Academic Feminist Literary Theory and Thinking through the Body. Her books Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment and Anecdotal Theory are published by Duke University Press. Dick Blau is Professor in the Department of Film at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He has published two books of photography, Polka Happiness and Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia. Blau’s photographs of his family have been featured in journals including Frame/Work, Discourse, and Dreamworks.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Living with His Camera 1

Cohabitation: A Methodological Preface 12

1. Observations of a Photographed Mother 19

2. The Unhappy Woman and the Empty Chair 55

3. The Photographer’s Desire 91

4. Art in the Family 130

Notes 183

Index 195
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3102-5
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