Over at the Guardian, a great article about Roland Barthes’s brilliant Camera Lucida.
If there are critical legacies to Camera Lucida, the first is probably its insistence (not as obvious as it seems) that photographs are always photographs of something. The book’s more penetrating influence has certainly to do with photography and mortality: both the memorial uses to which photographs have long been put – one thinks of Victorian mourning portraits, or the profusion of post-9/11 mementos – and the vertigo we can feel in the face of even the most vivid and living subject. But few of Barthes’s heirs – and Batchen’s essay collection reprints three decades’ worth of critical appraisal and envy of Camera Lucida – have ever reproduced or fully accounted for the strange air of searching and susceptibility that permeates his brief “note”. As the art critic Martin Herbert has put it, “I don’t go looking for ‘ideas about photography’ in that book; I read it for a certain kind of vulnerability.”
Hit the link to read the full article.