chapter  14
9 Pages

IDENTITY AND CULTURAL PRODUCTION

In my writing here, I have chosen to slide between my emotions, description, and some degree of analysis. I don’t want to be tied down either to making generalized statements about illness, or to airing disembodied, erudite theories of representation. I have written from inside my own history as a woman and as a cancer patient, while commenting upon that history as a photographer who employs critical practices from within psychoanalytic and discourse theory. In this context, my work may be useful to those interested in representations of the body, illness and subjectivity, and in the potential of photography as a healing agency. This is not a linear tract, developed out of a complex set of well-argued statements about identity politics, nor is it a list of techniques on how to use photography therapeutically. Instead, I have tended to loop around, and to create a montage of images and sentences which I hope will convey something of my journey, and also outline some resources. I am currently working as a collaborative artist, as well as an art therapist and phototherapist. In such work, I have been able to develop much of the critical theory I studied with Simon Watney and Victor Burgin in London. Rather than merely illustrating that theory, however, I am now using it to foreground some of the structured and structuring absences and silences which dominate forms of representation. I am currently exploring the philosophy and techniques of person-centred therapy,1 developing bridges between representations of the psychic, the social and the political; between fantasy and everyday life; and between materialist and psychoanalytic frameworks.