In which I dispute things I know nothing about

My university information arrived late last week. I’d heard nothing since May and was half-expecting a phone call saying “sorry, we thought you were the guy with the pictures of the stairwells; obviously we can’t offer you a place”, so it was a relief. Included was a reading list, with two particular books listed as recommended reading before the start of term. This was great: there are approximately a million books on photography, and it’s hard to know where to start without some guidance. I ordered them from Amazon, whose super-saver delivery only took a couple of days.

Photography books are great. They’re large, colourful and printed on high-quality paper. If I had a coffee table, that’s where they’d be. The two I ordered are no exception; one is a reference for the technical side, and the other an introduction to critical theory.

I opened the latter and had a flick through. One of the first sentences I read declared that a key component of critical theory is psychoanalysis. Oh god.

Obviously, I am not a psychologist. But I’ve read something on the topic, and was under the impression that psychoanalysis forms no part of modern theory. It’s not that studies have shown Freud was completely wrong about everything, it’s that…actually, yes, Freud was wrong about everything. I looked up the reference just now, and it says the other key component of this type of photographic theory is post-structuralism. Oh good.

But, like I said, I’m not actually a psychologist and can’t claim to really know what I’m talking about. I’m trying to be appropriately skeptical about this. I really am. I shall read the whole book and, you know, take the course and stuff, then see what I think. They’d better have some evidence to back this stuff up, though. Otherwise I shall, um, complain about them on my blog.