Sunday, June 1, 2008

May 25 - 26, 2008

Camera Lucida
Roland Barthes
1981, paperback
15 cards

Roland Barthes is a genuine voice who contributed amazing tracts about life and things living produces. Here he discusses photography, though delving deep, into how it means through a personal photograph where he knows his mother. The best part is this photograph is never reproduced, in part, because it would not mean in the same way for other viewers. This is a landmark book that I needed to reread and probably could read 100 more times, finding something new and valuable with each reading.

Selected notes/passages:
Reproduction of a Polaroid photograph at the beginning
3- "I am looking at eyes that looked at the Emperor."
4- "what the photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially."
6- "photographs are signs which don't take, which turn"
-"the referent adheres"
9- "to do, to undergo, to look"
-"(Polaroid? Fun, but disappointing, except when a great photographer is involved.)"
15- death
-"cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing"
26- studium
27- punctum
30- "Photography has the same relation to History that the biographeme has to biography."
-"the ghost of paintings"
38- "when it is pensive, when it thinks."
40- Baudelaire
42- a detail
45- "less Proustian"
47- "The photographer's 'second sight' does not consist in "seeing" but in being there"
51- "The incapacity to name is a good symptom of disturbance."
53- remembering the punctum
-Kafka: "We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes."
63- Proust
64- history
65- "History is hysterical: it is constituted only if we consider it, only if we look at it- and in order to look at it, we must be excluded from it."
70- Proust
71- Mallarme
73- Nietzsche
76- "Painting can feign reality without having seen it."
-"in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there"
80- Sontag
81- "A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze..."
- "For me, color is an artifice, a cosmetic"
84- co-presence
85- "what has been"
87- "language is, by nature, fictional"
89- time
91- "actually blocks memory, quickly becomes a counter-memory"
-"A paradox: the same century invented History and Photography."
94- "love-as-treasure"
97- private reading
100- "Such is the Photograph: it cannot say what it lets us see."
102- "no one is ever anything but the copy of a copy, real or mental"
-"Ultimately a photograph looks like anyone except the person it represents."
103- "the photograph makes appear what we never see in the real face"
110- provincial photographer

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