The Command to Look is considered one of Mortensen’s most momentous and rare books. Until now, copies on the antiquarian book circuit sold for many hundreds of dollars. It is a crucial book for understanding both Mortensen’s philosophy and his use of psychology in the making of his pictures. To illustrate the text Mortensen includes an amazing gallery of his best-known and most challenging images with explanations, by him, of what makes those photographs so compelling.
The reprint of The Command to Look also contains two new major essays that assess the significance and impact of the original book. An introduction by Mortensen biographer Larry Lytle explores Mortensen’s use of Jungian psychology and also discusses new advances in neural psychology that confirm Mortensen’s methods of controlling the viewer’s eye. The second essay, by historian Michael Moynihan (author ofLords of Chaos), details a strange and unexpected reception of the book: how this small volume on photographic methods played a role in the creation of the modern Church of Satan and Anton LaVey’s theories about Satanic Magic.