Questions about my questions??? :)

Daryl Barnett (dbarnett@CATS.UCSC.EDU)
Sat, 13 Jan 1996 17:13:50 -0800

I posted a question about the divinization of photographs earlier this
month, titled "Photographs reading us". I am curious about the response the
question engendered. Basically, there was no response. My feelings were
only slightly hurt, afterall only some 1100 people ignored me! I'm over
that now. I am a young anthropologist and want to understand what is
defective in my thinking or is lacking in my sense of inquiry. The question
pertained to a subject that I interested in researching, but maybe this
subject has been exhausted, is of little importance, or belongs in another

What I am curious about is what was wrong with or was lacking in my
question? Could I have posed it better?

Was it of a subject that is of little or no anthropological interest?

How could I have better formulated the question? (I do realize that it was
a quickly posted, but it is something I would like to get answers about.
Maybe no one has considered this question before?)

I know you can all tell I just want to be a good, or better anthropologist.
Please feel free to be as harsh with my as you need to be.

Thanks, Dara Barnett

Here is the original post.

Has anyone ever heard of or experienced the phenomenom of a photograph
"illuminating the consciousness" of the person who gazes at a photograph? I
suspect that this can be experienced by those who look at a photograph of a
familiar person or site (a relative, a familiarily associated location, a
"well known" person, etc.). Points or persona's of inspiration is what I am
trying to describe.

Looking at a photograph or image of a majestic geographical site or a
reknowned person of inspirational or charismatic character can stir someone
emotionally when gazed upon. But I have heard of a deeper experience
whereupon the viewer has claimed to have a "deeper connection" or
"association" with the imaged, and atests that there is a form of
communication that can be carried out with the imaged.

In particular, I have heard of two-way, mental communications happening
between devotees and photos of saids "guru's". Certainly this must type of
activity must be considered to be "prayerlike". If anyone has heard of this
type of behavioral interaction, I would be interested in hearing more about
it's social-scientific, psychological classification.

Daryl Barnett
University of California Santa Cruz
Anthropology Major