This paper considers the relation between photography and the modern invention of air war. Against air war’s technological innovation in imagining and enacting terror, photography is here regarded as a potent vehicle of civilian defense. Lee Miller’s images of the London Blitz serve as the exemplar, as instances of what Jacques Rancière (2008) calls the “politics of aesthetics.” This means not only regarding Miller’s images as deliberate political intentions and effects, but also using this example to think through how pictures are politics. Like the schemata of dreamwork, the power of these images lies in their capacity to convey the unreality of air war’s effects. Their force lies in the illumination of everyday life as permeated with fantasy. Or put differently, Miller teaches us that a form of political resistance can be found in unconscious thought.
OBSERVATOIRE DE L'IMAGINAIRE CONTEMPORAIN