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.
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.)"
-"cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing"
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."
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."
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."
76- "Painting can feign reality without having seen it."
-"in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there"
81- "A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze..."
- "For me, color is an artifice, a cosmetic"
85- "what has been"
87- "language is, by nature, fictional"
91- "actually blocks memory, quickly becomes a counter-memory"
-"A paradox: the same century invented History and Photography."
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