PHO705: Research – Phantasmagoria


Having recently communicated progress and details of research themes for the Major Project, the action has triggered several responses in terms of recommended reads. The objective remains to build research into the contextualisation of practice while developing the visual language.

This blog post concerns Phantasmagoria Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-first Century. (Warner, 2006) Ideas of “spirit”, “soul” and the “supernatural”.


The book (Warner, 2006) challenges why it still is that in the 21st century we revert to ideas of “spirit”, “soul” and the “supernatural”.

Scanning through this text there are two areas of immediate interest with regard to the photo project. First is a quotation.

“You are on a mission to discover

why the human heart still slows

when divers break the surface,

why mermaids still swim in our dreams”

“Michael Symmons Roberts, Mapping the Genome”

With a project theme majoring on DNA there is almost a necessity for discovering why Warner included a reference to the Genome. (Warner, 2006) opposite Page xviii

Further search shows that Symmons Roberts in 2003, soon after the Human Genome was decoded, penned another poem about the Mapping of the Genome and written in a metaphorical style of a car journey along a seemingly unending straight desert road.

Other areas of the text that prompt immediate interest are Part V Shadow Part VI Mirror: Double Vision, The Camera steals the Soul, and Part VII Ghost: Stay this Moment, Julia Margaret Cameron and Charles Dodgson; Spectral Rappers, Psychic Photographers.

Topics with a stronger connection to photography than literature demand more attention in the project context.

Online Video Lectures

The book author is a renowned presenter and her interviews, presentations and lectures are available to view online. This gives quite a quick view over a range of subject matter.

Much of what is presented is based around stories and fairytales and is literature-based rather than strictly photography based.



Warner, M. (2006) Phantasmagoria Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-first Century. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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