Photolanguage: How Photos Reveal the Fascinating Stories of Our Lives and Relationships

Overview

With 150 photographs of famous people and ordinary folks, this engaging book uncovers the stories behind the pictures.
There is more going on in most photographs than we usually see?hidden desires and fears, unspoken loves and hates, people's valiant efforts to camouflage themselves in the public world, and the inevitable leakage of their hopes and dreams and difficulties. Most of us do not see these aspects because, as Robert Akeret says, we ...

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Overview

With 150 photographs of famous people and ordinary folks, this engaging book uncovers the stories behind the pictures.
There is more going on in most photographs than we usually see—hidden desires and fears, unspoken loves and hates, people's valiant efforts to camouflage themselves in the public world, and the inevitable leakage of their hopes and dreams and difficulties. Most of us do not see these aspects because, as Robert Akeret says, we do not know the vocabulary of photolanguage.
Here, using 150 photographs spanning 100 years, Akeret explores such themes as power, seduction, immortality, passion, and narcissism. Readers will find Frank Sinatra uncharacteristically off balance, O. J. Simpson smirking his way to freedom, Jodie Foster adored by her mother, Bill Clinton unconvincingly wagging a finger, and Bill Gates as the Wizard of Oz. The author shares his personal interpretations, teaching by example and inviting readers to join the fun. 148 black-and-white photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Psychoanalyst Akeret approaches photography with the insight of a man who truly understands human emotions and body language in this thorough look at how to read the stories in the pictures people take every day. He examines the complex interactions of families through the juxtaposition of intergenerational photographs in what he calls a time-lapse sequence. Thus a family gathered for a special event can be compared with members of the same family twenty or thirty years later when both time and circumstance have changed the relationships and the inter-personal dynamics—or have they? Akeret reads the photographs and gives his interpretation of what they mean. The author also explores the raw emotion that can be captured within the frozen image. Both public and private figures, young and old, are exposed for the intensity that they feel. Readers will see the pain of parents whose daughter committed suicide when she realized that her rock star idol was unattainable. They will also share the joy of Nelson Mandela just after he was elected president of South Africa. Through Akeret's keen insight, readers are allowed a glimpse into people's lives through a panoply of emotions that have been forever trapped by the camera. Photolanguage will readily engage students of photography, of psychology, and of the human condition. Written for both adults and young adults, its appeal will be to anyone who longs to look into a picture and see into the soul. VOYA CODES: 5Q 3P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, Norton, Photos. 240p. Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Leslie Carter VOYA,February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
Library Journal
In 1973, private psychoanalyst Akeret (Photoanalysis: How To Interpret the Hidden Psychological Meaning of Personal and Public Photographs) devised a method of using the family photographs of patients in his New York City practice to help them understand aspects of their past. He returns to this subject here in what could be considered a companion volume. The discussion format centered on individual examples is similar, but chapters now focus on such themes as passion and narcissism. The photographs are different, with the exception of one of the captured Pueblo crewmen whose hand gestures the author reinterprets. While Akeret uses his professional training, intuition, and information he might already have known about the individuals pictured, he believes that his methods of "reading" photographs through people's body language, gestures, and expressions can be developed by others. In the Library of Congress classification, both books have been assigned to the "BF" (Psychology) section, and this book is recommended for that area of public libraries. Anne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A New York psychoanalyst interprets some 150 b&w photos of well-known and ordinary people and scenes for such themes as "the purity of frozen passion," family relationships, power, seduction, narcissism, and reality checks. Lacks an index and references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393049688
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert U. Akeret received his doctorate in psychology from Columbia University and his certificate in psychoanalysis from the William Alanson White Institute where he trained with Rollo May and Erich Fromm. He has worked in the counseling services at Columbia University, the City College of New York, and is a past President of the Association of Psychoanalytic Psychologists.

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