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Dead PledgesDebt, Crisis, and Twenty-First-Century Culture$
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Annie McClanahan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799058

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799058.001.0001

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Photography and Foreclosure

Photography and Foreclosure

(p.99) 3 Photography and Foreclosure
Dead Pledges

Annie McClanahan

Stanford University Press

Chapter 3 brings together a wide range of photographs—photojournalism, art photography, and satellite images—that document the economic crisis with images of abandoned homes. These photographs reveal the effects of the boom and bust of the mortgage market on our view of the home. They also raise questions about the politics of representation, especially when the photographer’s ability to enter the home depends on the power of the police to process an eviction. Photographs of empty houses, it suggests, draw on the aesthetics of what Freud termed the Unheimlich—unhomely, uncanny—to register the uncanny power of property. Turning from photographs of single houses to images of abandoned industrial landscapes and empty housing developments, this chapter argues that such images foreshadow a financial crisis to come.

Keywords:   photography, photojournalism, eviction, foreclosure, uncanny, police, economic crisis, deindustrialization, Chinese ghost cities, property

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