I’ve spent the last couple of months reading this book (I could only read a couple of pages at a time!) For me, a difficult read but also touchingly beautiful in the way Barthes tries to recapture his mother’s essence through a faded photograph.
As a brief summary I have listed a few quotes. Particularly pertinent for me is the quote in bold. I intend to investigate this notion further in the not too distant future.
The photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only for certain what has been. (p85)
…in the Photograph the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation. (p.89)
The photograph is violent…because …it fills the sight by force…in it nothing can be refused or transformed. (p.91)
If I like a photograph , if it disturbs me, I linger over it. What am I doing, during the whole time I am with it? I look at it, scrutinise it, as if I wanted to know more about the thing or the person it represents. (p.99)
…to scrutinise means to turn the photograph over, to enter into the paper’s depth , to reach its other side (what is hidden for us Westerners more “true” than what is visible). (p.100)
The noeme of photography is simple, banal; no depth: “that has been.” (p.115)
The full book reference may be found on the References page of this blog.