Auto-portrait by Daido Moriyama
Only one signed copy
“When I take my reflections or shadows, I somehow feel personal consciousness. Photographs are reflections of selves even if there would not be selves in finders. My answer to a question: photography is a mirror or a window? is that photography is a unity of a mirror and a window.
The experience of the urban subject lies at the heart of the way in which modernity has been imagined, explored and understood; from Baudelaire’s flâneur and Edgar Allan Peo’s criminal counterpart The Man of the Crowd in the nineteenth century, to the fractured individual posited in Georg Simmel’s The Metropolis and Mental Life at the dawn of the twentieth.
But it is in Paris in the 1920s, following the dissemination of Freud’s theories of the unconscious into literary sphere, that we find the earliest complete evocation of what it means for a subject to be given over entirely to a city.
This happens most effectively in those singular surrealist texts that take as their aim a new kind of expression, hovering between fact and fiction, drawing the author’s unconscious mind into a double bind with reality: Louis Aragon’s incredible Paris Peasant, for exemple, in which the narrator recounts his immersion in the electrifying experience of the everyday in such a way that the street and mind merge into one another completely: or the total collapse of self-portrait, diary, and dream that is André Breton’s Nadja; in which Breton, the narrator and protagonist, seems to lose himself in, or through, the very process of situating his own fugitive subjectivity.
In describing his life through the ‘image’ of a ghost, doomed to retrace his own steps, deluded and unknowing, trying, as he puts it, to ‘learn what I should simply recognise … a mere fraction of what I have forgotten’;
Breton situates the drive to understand life as a constant attempt to reclaim something that was once known but has been lost, lying forever beyond reach. (…)
And I too am a traveller by Simon Baker