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The Seduction of the Gaze Case Study: Theda Bara, Photograph. The Film Sin, 1915



The female character born with the birth of the photographic camera: the femme fatale. Focusing on a photograph of the actress Theda Bara, the author interprets the connection between two fundamental verbs of the visual culture, to see and to have, and their connection with the formation of the modern gaze. Using The Medusa of Carravagio as counterpoint, the analysis follows the classical interpretation of Laura Mulvey, showing how the dominant male gaze works from the very beginning of the industries of photographic manipulation of visual pleasure.

Keywords: gaze, femme fatale/vamp, semiotics, seduction