Camera Lucida

Camera Lucida

Reflections on Photography

Paperback - 2010
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A graceful, contemplative volume, Camera Lucida was first published in 1979. Commenting on artists such as Avedon, Clifford, Mapplethorpe, and Nadar, Roland Barthes presents photography as being outside the codes of language or culture, acting on the body as much as on the mind, and rendering death and loss more acutely than any other medium. This groundbreaking approach established Camera Lucida as one of the most important books of theory on the subject, along with Susan Sontag's On Photography .

Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, 2010.
Edition: Pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780374532338
Characteristics: xix, 119 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
Alternative Title: Reflections on photography


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Mar 07, 2018

Even though I studied English in college and grad school, I somehow missed the titanic French intellectual/critic Roland Barthes. Well, maybe not so much missed, as avoided. Those French thinkers (Derrida, Foucault, Lacan) were intimidating and, like, crazy hard to read. What's striking about Barthes is that he writes theory as a personal essay, which makes it a little (or petit) more accessible. "Camera Lucida," subtitled "Reflections on Poetry," is maybe his best known work and a good starter book for the curious. I'd also recommend the novel "The Seventh Function of Language," a murder mystery set in the world of French theory and criticism, in which the murder of Barthes is a major plot point.


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