Roland Barthes. Image http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/A-Robert.R.Lauer-1/roland-barthes.jpg
Somehow I missed this piece by Brian Dillon (Guardian March 26 2011) when it was published last week. But Re-reading Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes does serve as a welcome (and poignant) introduction to a work that is not only a wonderful book on photography, but a wonderful book, full stop.
Dillon makes the interesting point that Barthes' subjective approach is academically contentious:
It's this (in academic terms quite scandalous) embrace of the subjective which allows Barthes to begin the quest that makes his book so moving. Having lost his mother, with whom he had lived most of his life, he goes looking for her among old photographs... (Dillon 2011)
In this little book Barthes achieves the feat of marrying academic discourse to the personal. Perhaps it is 'scandalous' as Dillon suggests, but the subjectivity in Barthes' writing is what makes it not just wonderful critical writing on photography, but also great literature.
Do read it...
Barthes, R. (2000) Camera Lucida: reflections on photography. London: Vintage
Dillon, B. (2011). Re-reading Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes. In: The Guardian, March 26. [Online] Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/26/roland-barthes-camera-lucida-rereading [Accessed April 4, 2011]