This chapter defines the category of pensive images as not representing a narrative or a meaning, but as articulating thought. In contrast to self-reflexive images (such as Las Meninas) that have produced discourse, pensive images’ main characteristic is stillness, a productive silence. They do not so much trigger thought as arrest it. The chapter explores the concept of stillness, starting from recent discussions around the still image in photofilmic video art of Fiona Tan to the debate about stillness’ relation to thought in theory of photography of Barthes, Mulvey and Bellour to Lessing’s pregnant moment.
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