The Uncanny Object (1998)


The Kick-About #5 prompted me to exhume these images from the archive in advance of Throwback Friday, specifically Graeme Daly’s recollections of the basement in his father’s house, and particularly the suspicion with which he regarded the dolls who lived down there in the company of spiders.

In reference to the dolls that creeped him out as a child, Graeme articulated a particular paradox I recognised. Graeme wrote, “There has always been something about dolls that horrify me – in the best way.” I know that feeling too; an especial sensory sensation triggered by dolls and all the objects like them; the puppets, the mannequins, the waxworks – the uncanny objects.

I spent a good part of my masters degree investigating the uncanny, taking photographs and writing lengthily on its uses in art, film and literature. It all seems a very long time ago, but these images, originally taken on 1600 black and white film in the gloomy interiors of various antique shops, still reward me with a little prickle of unease – in the best way.



The Uncanny Object (1998) Phil Gomm


4 thoughts on “The Uncanny Object (1998)

  1. I have a book of ventriloquist dummies and uncanny is the right word. Nothing is “lifeless”. Even the most simple object is full of mystery. Another reason for each of us not to “own” too many things. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes – the stuff we own, or rather choose to keep closely, is always a gathering of ghosts, friendly, beloved, or otherwise. Your book on dummies sounds rather wonderful nonetheless – one of the great ‘is-it-or-isn’t it’ dummy narratives is Magic, starring a very young, super-intense Anthony Hopkins…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not to be viewed on a dark and stormy night…

    Your comments seem to be landing in spam and then whe I try to approve them they disappear. This is happening to several other people too. I’ve complained, but WordPress is not too good with these things…

    Liked by 1 person

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