Journal article Open Access

The Mirror Staged: Images of Babies in Baby Books

Nodelman, Perry

This talk focuses on the many "baby books" currently available that consist of pictures of babies, and considers how these pictures might represent replications or restagings of Jacques Lacan's mirror stage—that key moment in psychic development when a baby views its image in the mirror and understands that the image is in some sense itself, but also, a more perfect version of itself, an "ideal I" which the baby then strives to emulate. Viewed as re-stagings of the mirror stage, the images in baby books seem to offer their young viewers images of babies to identify with and see as what they ought to be themselves. As products of the marketplace, these books represent currently powerful cultural ideas about babyhood, so an exploration of them and a close look at the kinds of pictures found in them should reveal much about what they are telling their implied baby reader/viewers (and the adults who read along with them) about what it now means to be a baby, and about what is now the right kind of baby to be.

Files (753.8 kB)
Name Size
mirror staged in journal.pdf
753.8 kB Download
All versions This version
Views 116115
Downloads 7777
Data volume 58.0 MB58.0 MB
Unique views 104103
Unique downloads 6767


Cite as