I have always loved stationery stores. My father, a Certified Public Accountant, was a regular customer of these establishments and took me with him when he would purchase office supplies.
The main focus of my attention when I enter a stationary store are the notebooks. I have been on an almost life-long quest to find the holy grail of the perfect notebook for more than fifty years. The closest I have come is the Ampad Gold Fibre Personal Notebook, 130 Micro-Perforated White Sheets, 7 in. x 5 in. I bought my first (and only) one of these in 2003, but apart from noting the date and writing the word “Beginning” at the top, I did not use the book until August of 2005 when I was staying for a month in a rented apartment in the 18th Arrondissement in Paris. I had come to Paris to photograph psychoanalysts in their offices but had not taken into account that almost all analysts left the city for the summer break.
I took a side trip to London to photograph three analysts. My first entries were on the 5th of August and included a diary item while on the Eurostar between Paris and London. There was also a sketch of a taxi in front of a restaurant with the title Le Saint. For a good deal of that month I became a flaneur, strolling the endless fascination that is Paris, and documenting my experiences and reflections in words and drawings in my little notebook.
The book now accompanies me on all trips outside of the United States and on August breaks on Cape Cod. It has become an essential item. It is the only time that I permit myself to give expression to my beloved childhood hobby of drawing, for which the stationary stores of my youth provided the tools of pencils and notebooks.
Mark Gerald is a psychoanalyst and photographer. He has been photographing analysts since 2003 and teaching and writing about the psychoanalytic office for the past ten years. His project culminated in the publication of a book, In the Shadow of Freud’s Couch: Portraits of Psychoanalysts in Their Offices (Routledge, 2020). He presented at the Freud Museum in London in October 2019. The human need to see and be seen is central to the endeavours of both psychoanalysis and photography. Mark’s work is devoted to reclaim the visual realm in psychoanalysis and link it to the therapeutic value of mutual recognition. He believes that looking at loss and impermanence is especially vital for engaged connection.