My previous post about Jill Greenberg also reminds me of an artist named Wiebke Leister who I had a lecture on recently. The work I’m thinking of ‘Neck over Head’ features children being tickled, however, these photos are not in any way obvious. The images show children with contorted faces and bodies which appear to be very peculiar. Many viewers find Leister’s images unsettling because it is difficult to distinguish whether the children are laughing hysterically, or are in fact crying out in pain.

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These photos remind me of how the camera is able to freeze a moment in time leaving is abandoned of all context. This idea is highlighted in another of the texts that I am able to choose for my coursework by Liz Wells in A CRITICAL INTRODUCTION (2006)

Photography and the Modern

It is indeed a different nature that speaks to the camera from the one which addresses the eye; different above all in the sense that instead of a space worked through by a human consciousness there appears one which is affected unconsciously. It is possible, for example, however roughly, to describe the way somebody walks, but it is impossible to say anything about that fraction of a second when a person starts to walk. Photography with its various aids (lenses, enlargement) can reveal this moment. Photography makes us aware for the first time the optical unconscious, just as psychoanalysis discloses the instinctual unconscious.    –

Liz Wells is clearly saying here that photography has allowed us to be able to pin point any single moment we want. We can photograph a person thinking about their first step even before they do it. This is much like Wiebke Leister’s work in that the children are a snapshot, they are in a moment that can never be recreated the same but Leister has the photo of the time.