Photography and Fetish

In order to explore the contribution of Christian Metzs’ “Photography and Fetish” to the understanding of the photographic image in the modern era, it is important to look at the term fetish as it is explained in the dictionary as well as at modern psychoanalitical (especially Freudian) techniques because this knowledge is pivotal for the comprehension of the essay.
Fetish: a thing to which more respect or attention is given than normal or sensible: He makes a fetish of his work (4) or also an object or activity that is necessary for or adds to an individuals sexual pleasure (4)
Freud, in On Sexuality; three essays on the theory of sexuality and other works Vol. 7 described a fetish as an unusual object-choice by a person and said that generally they recognized the fact that it was abnormal but seldom felt that it was the symptom of an ailment accompanied by suffering.He continues by saying that usually, these people were quite satisfied with their fetish and even praised the way in which it eased their erotic life and that as a rule, fetishism makes its appearance during psychoanalysis only as a subsidiary finding.
When analyzed, the meaning and purpose of a fetish is always the same, it is a substitute for a phallus that should be present but is not due to its loss in a persons memory at some point between early childhood and adulthood
The classic Freudian example of a fetish being created is that of a young boy looking at his mothers body and realizing that she has no penis whereas he has one (he had assumed that everyone had one). This leads him to fear castration and so a fetish is formed to protect his mind from this fear, this may or may not affect his development in a negative way.
In addition,this non-existence of the phallus acts as a reminder that it once existed (or that it should have) and therefore its substitute which is always present (cigarette, stocking, religious symbol, etc.) acts as a defense mechani…


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