The Unseen Eye

The Unseen Eye

Photographs from the Unconscious

  1. W. M. Hunt
  2. Introduction by William A. Ewing
See Inside
  • ISBN 9780500543955
  • 28.00 x 26.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 320pp
  • 396 Illustrations, 123 in colour
  • First published 2011
‘Utterly captivating’ – The Sunday Telegraph
‘A wonderful selection of images … a great anthology. But combined with the brilliant text that accompanies it we are taken through a maze of ideas that investigates the powerful psychological depths which visual language can reach. … lovingly curated with great verve and I’m sure will become an instant classic, to be treasured for many years to come’ – For London Independent Photography
‘Incredible … tactile and imaginative with depth and emotion’ – Hotshoe International

The Unseen Eye is one of those rare books that has the quality of a revelation.

It not only gives a new perspective on the work of many of the greatest names in the history of photography but also tells us something new about ourselves with all the associated nuances of memory, wit, eroticism, fear, grief and horror.

The Unseen Eye Specimen spread

The photographs have a common theme – the gaze of the subject is averted, the face obscured or the eyes firmly closed. They range from André Breton’s self-portrait to Ruth Snyder in the electric chair in 1928 and from Weegee’s multi-image portrait of Andy Warhol in sunglasses to Robert Mapplethorpe’s photograph of the artist Alice Neel. The images present a catalogue of anti-portraiture, characterized at first glance by what its subjects conceal, not by what the camera reveals.

The author has gathered the images over many years and his selection includes not only many works by famous practitioners from across the history of the medium – Nadar, Brassaï, Walker Evans, Philip Jones Griffiths, Annie Leibovitz, Martin Parr – but also photographs of strange origin taken by anonymous figures from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.

Running through the book is a commentary which offers the author's own intense and perceptive responses to the images, as well as insights into the psychology of collecting. William A. Ewing, the distinguished curator of photography, contributes an introduction.

W. M. Hunt is a collector and dealer specializing in contemporary photography. He is based in New York, where he also teaches at the School of Visual Arts. A selection from his own collection was exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles Photographie in 2005 and later at the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and at FOAM, Amsterdam.
William A. Ewing, formerly director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, the world-renowned museum of photography, has curated a number of international exhibitions on the themes of the body and the face, and is the author of more than a dozen books on diverse aspects of photography.