A Photo Teacher |

La Fascinación del Otro | The Fascination for the Other

Posted in USD-Guad | ART 160V, USD-Guad | ART 353V by Paul Turounet on May 14, 2010

© Paul Turounet, U.S. – Mexico Border, Bridge across the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo between Laredo, Texas, United States and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico

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When foreigners came to Mexico after the Conquest, they became fascinated precisely with what the Conquerors had tried so hard to suppress.  What Freud has called the return of the repressed is clearly at work with this lasting fascination for the other.

This is what happened to the foreign photographers, who felt the true nature of Mexico.  I find in their work a fascination – founded on an obscure sense of guilt, no doubt, on some desperation with the meaninglessness of modern civilization, some dissatisfaction with their own heritage, that has driven them to Mexico in search of a source of rejuvenation.  Is image making in a foreign land a predatory activity?  Some think so, and point out that photographers have often behaved as if Mexico were a country to colonize again, this time symbolically.  I believe that voyeurism and violence are never entirely absent in image making, but also that the links between photographers and their subjects (as the relationship between conquerors and conquered) are never simple.

© Carole Nagger, excerpt from La Fascinación del Otro | The Fascination for the Other included in Mexico Through Foreign Eyes: Vistos por Ojos Extranjeros

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After reading the critical discussion and analysis from La Fascinación del Otro | The Fascination for the Other by Carole Naggar, consider the following and discuss as you embark on your own photographic exploration of Mexico.

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Identify and describe the “three different kinds of foreigners,” including discussion about how each foreigner would approach the use of camera and photography in a different country.

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Identify the various themes | ideas the foreign photographers mentioned in the essay explored.

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As you begin your photographic exploration of Mexico, what kind of “foreign photographer” will you be?  What will be your photographic fascination and how do you envision yourself making photographs in Mexico, including what you feel you’ll be comfortable with and what will be challenging?

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Click on the link to download | view the essay:  La Fascinación del Otro | The Fascination for the Other

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