a blog by knut skjærven

Husserl’s Curious Image

Curious Couple. © Knut Skjærven.

What’s luck got to do with it? A lot, I would say. Being at the right place at the right time.

Last week I decided to start mapping out the best brains on phenomenology and photography. Not separately, but combined. Who are they, where are they, and what have they done that could be of interest for this project. What are they presently working on?

I started to ask around. It was my guess that the Husserl-Archives in Leuven, Belgium, would be one of the good places to start. They should know who is who, where and when.

I had a look at their web page, but that did not ring any immediate bells so I just roamed the site. And there it was: Professor John Brough (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.) was on his way to Leuven, Belgium, to do a guest lecture. (This was Thursday October 7, 2010.) The theme: The Curious Image: Husserlian Thoughts on Photography. To be held Monday 11 October, 17.00 – 19.00, Room C. I could even download a poster.

I know John Brough’s reputations already. He is the guy who translated Husserl’s Phantasie, Bildbewusstsein, Erinnerung (Husserliana Band XXXIII), which, I am ashamed to say, have owned for many years, but until recently never have done anything serious about. I bought the English translation by Brough a couple of years back, and was actually re-reading his brilliant introduction, when I found out about the guest lecture in Belgium. I wanted to drive down (from Copenhagen, Denmark), but there was not much time to prepare. So I did not go.

Did you know, by the way, that you can read most of John Brough’s English translation, absolutely free of charge. On the net. Try it. You can definitely read the Introduction.

There is even more: Handbook of Phenomenological Aesthetics just came out. Edited by Hans Rainer Sepp and Lester Embree. I am the lucky owner of one copy. Professor Brough has two articles in the book. The first one is titled: Edmund Husserl (1859 -1938), and the second one is on Representation. Both are good reads on the way to photography.

The common view is that Husserl said very little about photography. I don’t hold that opinion.

That is, basically, what I wanted to tell you. I am really looking forward to reading John Brough’s guest lecture on Husserl’s curious image. Once it is ready for publishing. I will probably write about it too. If I am right, the lecture definitely fills a gap.

Should I say that I am eagerly curious, or is that too banal?

NB: The photograph above has nothing to do with the lecture. It has been inserted for visual purposes, by the blog author. Go here for more photographs.

9 responses

  1. Harriet Noble

    Hi there,

    I am currently studying my Masters in Nursing and am very interested in phenomenology. I was wondering if it was possible to get a transcript of the keynote for the work by John Brough (Georgetown) “The Curious Image: Phenomenological Thoughts on Photography.” Not sure if you will be able to help but would be very grateful for some advice.

    Many thanks


    February 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

  2. Hi Harriet.

    Thanks for asking.

    My answer is very simple: I don’t know. I asked the same question before John Brough delivered the speech. I have his address so let me ask him again.

    I’ll be back. Have a good evening :-).


    February 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm

  3. Hi Harriet,

    I am also interested in “The Curious Image: Phenomenological Thoughts on Photography.” If it is available please let me know. I have corresponded with Prof. Brough a couple of times. He is very sweet and helpful. I read the introduction of “Phantasy, Image Consciousness, and Memory” before the publication (thanks to John).

    I am now finishing the book (it took a long long time to me!), and want to write a book review (finally!).

    Eiichi Tosaki

    May 18, 2011 at 12:09 am

  4. Good idea. Let me come back to it :-).


    May 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    • Thanks.
      Look forward to hearing from you soon again.


      May 22, 2011 at 2:00 am

  5. You might be interested:
    (My BCD site)
    (Some of my photos)
    (On going collaboration between my photos and a Tokyo based composer)

    By the way I like your photos a lot.


    May 22, 2011 at 2:14 am

  6. Dear Knut,

    I just got a paper (Husserl and Photography) from John directly.
    Thanks for doing this.

    The paper looks very good and I am keen on reading it.
    I will get back to you soon.

    Thanks again for you kindness to contact John.


    May 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm

  7. Dear Eiichi

    Thanks you.

    Yes I got it today too. I have not had time to read it yet, but I hope I will during the weekend.

    Thanks you for the attention. Have a good evening – CET :-).


    May 26, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    • Thanks Knut. I will use this weekend as well to read the paper. I will get back to you soon.

      May 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm

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