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    Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (Paperback) By (author) Roland Barthes, Translated by Richard Howard

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    DescriptionExamining the themes of presence and absence, the relationship between photography and theatre, history and death, these 'reflections on photography' begin as an investigation into the nature of photographs. Then, as Barthes contemplates a photograph of his mother as a child, the book becomes an exposition of his own mind.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Camera Lucida

    Title
    Camera Lucida
    Subtitle
    Reflections on Photography
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Roland Barthes, Translated by Richard Howard
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 144
    Width: 129 mm
    Height: 198 mm
    Thickness: 11 mm
    Weight: 142 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780099225416
    ISBN 10: 0099225417
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: SOC
    BIC subject category V2: JFC, HPCF
    LC subject heading:
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S3.6
    BIC subject category V2: AJB
    BISAC V2.8: PHO011000
    DC20: 770.92
    BISAC V2.8: PHI016000
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25870
    BISAC V2.8: SOC002010
    DC22: 770.1
    Libri: B-524
    Thema V1.0: QDHR, JBCC, AJCD
    Illustrations note
    1
    Publisher
    VINTAGE
    Imprint name
    VINTAGE
    Publication date
    01 February 2006
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Author Information
    Roland Barthes was born in 1915 and studied French literarture and classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Romania and Egypt, he joined the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. He was professor at the College de France until his death in 1980.
    Review quote
    "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
    Review text
    Nothing is more present or more mysterious, still, than the Photograph - so one blinks only at Barthes' assumption, at the start of these meditations on its nature, that he is doing something exceptional. More unusual, for such endeavors and for Barthes, is his directness (rendered in limpid prose by Richard Howard). What is there in certain photographs, he asks, that attracts me? The investigation, then, is subjective - no visual-arts touchstones, no socioeconomic ballast. Barthes distinguishes between a general interest in a scene, which he calls (with his penchant for coining terms) the stadium, and something "which arises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me": the puncture. Though he errs in supposing that the punctum, in the photographs he cites, is necessarily accidental (surely the Nicaraguan nuns were as important to photographer Koen Wessing as the Nicaraguan soldiers), he exactly names the sort of detail which, from photographer to photographer, surprises: "one boy's bad teeth" in a William Klein scene of Little Italy, the dirt road in a Kertesz picture of a blind gypsy violinist ("I recognize, with my whole body, the straggling villages I passed through on my long-ago travels in Hungary and Rumania"). Other recognitions, other distinctions emerge - between "landscapes of predilection" (where one feels one has been, or is going) and tourist photographs; between erotica ("disturbed, fissured") and pornography. But it is in searching back through photographs of his mother, after her death, that Barthes arrives at the essence, for him, of photography: one childhood picture, not reproducible ("It exists only for me"), but a "just image." Grander statements appear - to the effect, for one, that photography alone authenticates existence and foretells death - but it is the emotional experience of photographs, ordinarily the preserve of fiction, that resonates here. Readers of Susan Sontag's On Photography will find Barthes a gentler, more private, also insinuating voice on the subject. (Kirkus Reviews)