Thinking in Images

Freeze Frame
By François Laplantine


The starting point for the reflections proposed in this article was Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow Up. The film is actually almost entirely organised around cinematic procedures themselves, going beyond the simple eye-object dichotomy to include the filming, the editing and the reception of the film by the public. As such, it explores and challenges the relations between looking and seeing, remembering and forgetting, appearance and disappearance. The internal tension peculiar to the visual arts (in particular photography and the cinema) are echoed by anthropological processes : the fluctuation in the arts of the image between reality and unreality, presence and absence, the visible and the invisible is answered by the anthropologist’s oscillation between seeing and knowing, and the closeness of observation as against the distance of written discourse.


  • framing
  • cinema
  • visualising procedures
  • ethnography
  • language
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