Pathography

Exhibition of Photography by Cass Senior Lecturer Spencer Rowell
Date: 13/04/15

The Foyer Gallery at The Cass is showing work by Cass Lecturer, Photographer and PhD student Spencer Rowell.

Spencer Rowell is a senior lecturer in photography here at The Cass, and an alumnus of our MA Photography Course. Together with David George and Fiona Yaron Field he established and continues to run the Uncertain States Collective

About Pathography

I have a face, but a face is not what I am. Behind it lies a mind, which you do not see but which looks out on you. This face, which you see but I do not, is a medium I own to express something of what I am

(Bell 2000)


Representations of identity where, through the use of photographic self-portraiture, one might explore psychological states has an established history. With a desire for self-discovery an attempt is made to engage in communication with oneself

…because he is in many ways a stranger to himself, he is susceptible to seeing himself in an image that, until now, has been fabricated by other people or other facts (Roustang 1996).


The photograph as object that is addressed is not the real person, as perhaps a representation seen as a reflection in a mirror:

…but instead the “Other” of his dreams, his fantasies, his imaginings (Roustang ibid.). 

Practice - the making and re-making - offers an opportunity for (re)construction and engagement in dialogue outside oneself, where one considers alternative perspectives. This technique of visual autobiography in a world of therapeutic language is a form of personal pathography.


Psychoanalysis also concerns itself with the revealing of alternative possibilities of oneself; it is through dialogue that an authentic voice might be revealed. Freud introduced the concept of pathography in 1910 suggesting that a psychoanalytic study of an artist’s work could provide a valuable insight into the nature of its creator. An artist might implicitly have a sense of what is communicated, but can this tacit knowledge be revealed as the work is refined in practice and be seen as a therapeutic tool: a form of photo-therapy?

Spencer will be discussing his PhD research project at a conference to held at Central St. Martins titled:‘ 21st Century Photography: art, philosophy, techniques’ on 5th & 6th June 2015.

News details

Dates April 13 - May 15 2015
Opening Hours Mon-Fri 9AM-7PM, Sat 10.30AM-5PM
Venue The Cass Foyer Gallery, London Metropolitan University, Central House

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Spencer Rowell

Cass Photography

Teaches BA (Hons) Fine Art, Graphic Design & Illustration (Photography), PhD Candidate

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