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Camera Lucida Reflections on Photography



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Pub. Date:
Hill and Wang
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  • Camera Lucida : Reflections on Photography
    Camera Lucida : Reflections on Photography
  • Camera Lucida : Reflections on Photography
    Camera Lucida : Reflections on Photography

Customer Reviews

Great for a photographers collection  April 5, 2011

In this amazing textbook Barthes takes us on a somewhat rambling journey as he attempts to understand the essential meaning of photographs and to uncover what it is that a photograph captures. Barthes cites a number of examples and he makes his search for meaning very personal when he discusses in detail his search for, and his understanding of, the photograph which captures the essential spirit of "his mother" for him. The textbook has tedious passages, but does capture some of what transpires when one finds a photograph which appeals. Camera Lucida will be of interest to photographers who care about their craft. For them, the book speaks in words about something they probably already have an implicit understanding of. People who take only casual notice of photographs will likely be bored in reading Camera Lucida, and may never finish the textbook. (The textbook was written before the computer and digital revolution. Thus, a bit of the content is dated by the manipulation of images which that revolution has enabled.)

Camera Lucida Reflections on Photography: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


A graceful, contemplative volume,Camera Lucidawas 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 establishedCamera Lucidaas one of the most important books of theory on the subject, along with Susan Sontag'sOn Photography.

Author Biography

ROLAND BARTHES was born in 1915. A French literary theorist, philosopher, and critic, he influenced the development of schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, and post-structuralism. He died in 1980.

Table of Contents

“[Barthes] has accomplished in this extraordinary book something finer than mere polemic. En route to his last painful discovery, Barthes takes the reader on an exquisitely rendered, lyrical journey into the heart of his own life and the medium he came to love, a medium that flirts constantly with the ‘intractable reality’ of the human condition.” —Newsweek

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