Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 15 Jul 1993
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"Of all his works it is the most accessible in language and the most revealing about the author. And effortlessly, as if in passing, his reflections on photography raise questions and doubts which will permanently affect the vision of the reader" (Guardian)
"I am moved by the sense of discovery in Camera Lucida, by the glimpse of a return to a lost world" (New Society)
"Profoundly shaped the way the medium is regarded" (Geoff Dyer Guardian)
‘Roland Barthes' final book - less a critical essay than a suite of valedictory meditations - is his most beautiful, and most painful’ ObserverSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This particular essay ventures into the debate of the death of painting that has been raging since the invention of the camera. Whilst he is not so obvious as to suggest that this is the essence of the debate he defines by implication why the photo can never replace painting. The photo unequivocally represents what it represents. And what it represents is death.That is its bleakness.It always represents the past.There is always something rather spooky about photography for this reason because it allows the return of the dead through realistic and yet at the same time spectral visual evidence i.e.not representation.
It is all too easy to be negatively critical about such a work because it is by no means easy to get a handle on it in one reading but that of course is its strength. There is much that this work could be said to embrace not least the aforesaid debate regarding the death of painting, but in addition the artificial ways in which history is constructed as well as the deconstruction of human myths.
Mythologies (Vintage Classics)
Perhaps the problem is mine. Surely he is saying something worthwhile, otherwise why is he so famous and so revered? Or perhaps the problem is not mine. Maybe it really is a case of "Emperor's New Clothes"?
Anyway, I figured that I"d have a better chance of understanding a book about photography, something I already know rather a lot about. I was wrong. It is written in the same dense idiosyncratic style. You could believe that he was trying to be as obscure as possible. I did understand some things he was saying in this book, which is more than I can say for the other one, but that just confirmed my suspicions about the author. When I finally figured out what he was getting at over the course of three or four pages it could invariably have been said in a sentence or two.
Add in his annoying habit of making obscure historical or philosophical references that seems only to be an attempt to establish his intellectual superiority over the reader and I can think of no good reason for reading this book, and simply cannot understand so many tributes and 4 or 5 star ratings.
I will re-read it slowly, with a good dictionary by my side, and cut through the style to get at the basic ideas. I think Barthes does have valid points to make. Photography surrounds us and is taken too much for granted with little thought. For example a video (or music) is embedded in time and you have to follow the creators time frame. Photography on the other hand is outside time, you can look at a photograph in the way you choose for as long as you want, in the same way as a painting. On the other hand photography is an aspect of a moment of reality which existed in the past, unlike a painting which is an artists interpretation of something he saw, imagined or felt.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Confusing at times but great if your doing a degree in photography like me or just want to read something that will challenge your mind.Published 6 months ago by Hannah Cooper