A couple of weeks ago, I returned from Lancaster, where the International Gothic Association held its Ninth Biannual Conference: Monstrous Media / Spectral Subjects. I couldn’t have found a major conference so perfectly attuned to my interests, and the papers did not disappoint. The shortest route to explaining to friends just what “Gothic Media” might be tends to cut through the flesh-eating-television and killer-cellphone movies we’ve been bombarded with over the past few years, but nineteenth-century technologies were well represented at the conference as well. One of my favorites was a paper delivered by Elizabeth McCarthy, co-editor of the Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies. McCarthy traced out some of the filiations between composite photography (see Constance’s wonderful post on the subject) and spirit photography (which unbelievers tend to chalk up to a similar multiple-exposure technique). The whole panel prompted some exciting thoughts concerning the ways in which gothic imagery permeates criminological discourse, but the talks also got me thinking about the photographic nature of character in the Victorian novel. Daniel Novak’s new book, Realism, Photography and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, has a brilliant chapter that considers Daniel Deronda in light of composite photography. Rather than diving into Novak’s argument here, I’ll limit myself to cropping Constance’s quotation from Galton, to consider the paradoxical representation of “no man in particular.” When properly misread, there’s a strange, hyperreal resonance to this phrase, which yokes together absence and singularity.* It’s something that strikes me when I look at Galton’s photos: the eyes of this palimpsest-subject holds within itself the illusion of a distinct personality, but is in reality an accumulation of anonymous bodies. This uncanny gaze remains untamed in the “dead eyes” of twenty-first century CGI, but the cultural work of Galton’s composite technique presents us with something more sinister, leaving us to contemplate the residue of bodies (whether Jewish, criminal, insane or otherwise “deviant”) sacrificed to the formulation of “types.” * Daniel, could this be one version of the “non-representational” theory of photography you name in your response to Constance: an image that clothes itself in the skin of a particular referent, but never actually touches upon anything more concrete than a general idea?