Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes
Elevator â€“ Miami Beach, by Robert Frank. Barthes argued that a Punctum must always be an accident, unseen by the photographer. How then could Robert Frank have produced an entire book in which virtually every image pierces the soul?
I doubt if any book about photography has been more thoroughly dissected than Camera Lucida.
I have no illusion that I can add anything significant to the body of work on this small volume. It is a safe bet to say that for every one of the 119 pages in Roland Barthesâ€™ brief volume, hundreds of pages have already been written.
Two recent and worthwhile volumes are Photography Degree Zero, edited by Geoffrey Batchen, whichÂ contains 14 often challenging essays on the book and James Elkinsâ€™ What Photography is, which is more of a counterpoint, rather than an analysis of Camera Lucida.
There is more than enough material for anyone who wants to plumb the depths of critical analysis of Camera Lucida.
Rather than attempt to add anything to what has already been written, I have concluded that I would do best by suggesting that simply reading Camera Lucida and enjoying it without obsessing over every detail can be a rewarding and enlightening option.
There is something to be said for just joining Barthes as he takes the reader on his deeply personal journey to â€œlearn at all costs what Photographyâ€ is in itself, and â€œby what essential feature it was to be distinguished from the community of images.â€ Continue reading →
Books Every Serious Photographer Must Have
One of the consequences of my interest in photography is that I acquire and read too many photography books.
I hope to develop this site as a resource for other photographers seeking out the best in photography books. Not technical books. At least not many. But books that explore the history and aesthetics of photography. Books by people who are also fascinated by the craft and also share the belief that it is important.
This post summarizes a handful of books that I have found truly outstanding and that I believe must be in every photographer’s collection. Continue reading →