Freud's Study is a current collaboration with the Freud Museum, London. The result is a series of 100 photographs of Sigmund Freud’s sizeable collection of antiquities, photographed in his study where the objects remain to date.
All photographs are composed exclusively in-camera. The photography is distinctly not ‘objective’ or ‘neutral’ as would be expected i.e. for a catalogue, rather it makes deliberate use of the visual effects that are characteristic for lens-based imagery, such as increased contrast between light and dark or blurred areas due to a low depth of field together with occasional spacial foreshortening in addition to photographing reflections in glass doors and mirrors. Apart from exposure and colour adjustments, no post-photographic image manipulation has been applied. This results in images that make figures seemingly relate to each other and –as often the case when photographing sculpture– brings these somewhat alive. The result is that the subject matter of the depicted, mostly anthropomorphic figures is much emphasized over their object character as artefact. This also corresponds to Freud’s interest in art, which on the whole privileged subject matter over artistry.
Another part of the power of the images resides in the fact that the viewer of the photograph knows that these sculptures were in the possession of the man we know as the father of psychoanalysis. Not only does that imply that they were ‘witnesses’ to many of Freud’s world famous sessions with patients, but viewers will also immediately ponder about the reason for Freud to choose these objects, wondering what he may have seen in this or that particular figure. Whilst the study itself is only ever visible in fragments, the image series suggests it as populated by archaic figures, depicted in somewhat dream like images. The title Freud’s Study plays on the double meaning that the object of the photographs is the room that is his study as well as it refers to the fact that archaeology and also photography as metaphor for psychological processes were part of Freud’s study of the human mind. 

All images: © Klaus Wehner, Courtesy of the Freud Museum, London.