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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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New Essay

Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

Sports Photography

Friday, September 10, 2004

Sport is about the fastest, the strongest, the most lithe: the sprinter diving first to the line; the muscleman of stretched cheeks and gritted teeth capable of pushing beyond his known limits; the gymnast who can hold air and dance against gravity for the longest. This is why sports' photography, of the sort exhibited in the Guardian Magazine Olympic special this weekend, is so compelling. In capturing a moment, the photograph is an antithetical medium to that which it represents; the image constricts within its frame a person whom we know from the context has, even as the shutter clicks, burst beyond its limits. Paradoxically, its moment of stillness reveals, more than to the eye watching in real-time, the speed of the action.

And just as Eadweard Muybridge's images of a horse exposed, as if through a microscope, a secret rendered invisible by the powerful beauty of natural motion, so sports' photography continues to enthrall by demonstrating the minute muscular spasms which must combine perfectly and in sequence to let the sprinter cut the tape, the weightlifter achieve the impossible, the gymnast spin with flair and ease. It always looks so easy on television; through the photograph's capture of time, in which it exposes the athlete's efforts to defy time, we realise this is not so.

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Posted by Alistair at 2:34 pm


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