Influences of Riesenhuber & Weber on Individual Psychology
Lifestyle is a description of the patterns of behaviour and attitudes of a person, community, or group. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his classic article, The Case of Miss R, with the interpretation of “the life-styles of the people in a specific area”. In more modern times, however, the definition of “lifestyle” has become far less vague, including the usage of the phrase in its modern sense, “pattern of thought and behaviour considered normal”.
As I read The Case of Miss R, I found that its focus was on how R presented herself to the world-viewers and how she represented the values that she held. What she was primarily concerned about was how her actions affected the people around her, especially her husband. R maintained that her lifestyle was defined by the values that she held and not by any external circumstances. Theodor Adler’s definition of lifestyle can be seen as a compromise between his and Riesenhuber’s views of human behaviour and society.
What were some examples of lifestyles influenced by Riesenhuber and Adler’s work? For example, Riesenhuber believed that there was a difference between “farming” and “back-to-the-land movement”. Farming was associated more with what was considered proper for a traditional family unit, such as living in fields, hunting deer and carrying out farming tasks. Back-to-the-land movement was an attempt to bring together “the people”, create a sense of community, as well as reclaim the natural beauty of the environment. Adler’s belief was that these two movements needed to be combined, especially since their goals were different.
Riesenhuber’s favourite phrase at the time was “Lifestyle defines you”. In his view, his and Riesenhuber’s “Lifestyle” was a unique way of looking at humanity, as well as a blueprint of what people should strive for in their lives. This “Lifestyle” concept is heavily influenced by Adler’s Polaroid photography. The two men conceptualised the Polaroid camera, which they intended to be a portable device that could capture high-resolution images. The resulting images would then be used to create a photo album that chronicled the journey of a person through their daily life.
Although Riesenhuber did not invent the Polaroid camera, he did recognise its potential as a method to create a catalogue of human behaviour. He and Riesenhuber used their knowledge to design a series of books that focused on aspects of different lifestyles and shared the resulting photographs in each volume. Within each volume, readers would have the opportunity to “interview” the author(s) and the other contributors within the book. Lifestyle content would consist of such topics as: How to Get Your Kids to Listen and Read (The Power of Positive Parenting), The Importance of Family in Modern Life and How to Have a Good Family Life (uka Publishing, New Haven, Connecticut). Lifestyle focused publications helped to make the Polaroid camera famous.
However, in 2021 the Polaroid camera was put to rest when Knoll created a new image-studded photographic technology called Knoll FX. This new photographic device was the brainchild of David Riesenhuber andike Weyand. Although Knoll FX did not directly compete with Riesenhuber’s Lifestyle, it was able to spawn a new sub-genre of photographic literature and would go on to influence many other authors and photographers. Today, the Knoll brand of photography continues to inspire new generation of photographers including Christian Audigier and Wimjet Coopert.