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Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,094 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
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 e ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Hill and Wang (first published 1980)
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Aug 21, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
For Barthes, every photograph, rather than being a representation, is an expression of loss. The photograph, like all art which precedes it, attempts to eternalize its subject, to imbue it with life-forever, to blend the beautiful with the infinite; but it fails, it reminds us only of mortality (death is the mother of beauty). Try though it may, and despite its resemblance to life, the photo can never extend a life which is lost, or a life which is passing.
I had understood that henceforth I mu
Dec 03, 2015 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd never thought much about Barthes method until I read Sara Ahmed's book Queer Phenomenology in which she draws attention to the labour that enables Husserl to sit and think at his table; the work of childcare and table clearing performed, probably, by women. Ahmed has inspired me to ask what Barthes is doing here, and Barthes has helpfully told me; he is forthright; perhaps that is why I find his writing appealing; I am engaged by honesty and directness. He looks at photographs; he thinks abo ...more
Mar 07, 2007 Alejandro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
while to many this book is another of barthes extended fragmentary ramblings on modern media, this is actually a touching novella about a solitary man's recognition of his own humanity upon the death of his mother. he so longs for transcendence, redemption, and eternal life and he prays it might come through the archives and the text. and yet he sadly worries it might not. and that his intellectual musings have somehow missed the point. if you ever wondered what in search of lost time was really ...more
Jul 10, 2008 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
Along with Susan Sontag's On Photography, Camera Lucida is one of the earliest and still most frequently cited analyses of the medium. This might seem strange considering how personal and 'literary' it is, but, whether for or against, academics continue to use this little book to make all sorts of exaggerated claims about visual culture.

As he acknowledges, Barthes' take on photography is determined by a phenomenological reduction. "...I decided to take myself as a mediator for all Photography. S
Hanieh Fajrak
Nov 27, 2015 Hanieh Fajrak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is THE PHOTOGRAPHY ! This is THE real art. The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.
I have found my soul on Photography. Thats it.
Aug 02, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I spent this afternoon looking through old black & white photos from the fifties taken by my father, of the extended family. My cousins, now dead or old, as they were when young, at birthday, Easter and Christmas parties, and my mother as an attractive young woman with her life before her. Of myself in one group photo, aged 1 year, somewhat annoyed at sliding off my cousin Janet’s 8-year-old knee as I try to read my book, believe it or not!

I’ve often thought this – that when you look into a
Ahmad Sharabiani
La chambre claire: Note sur la photographie=Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes
موضوع: عکاسی هنری
عنوان: اتاق روشن: تامالاتی درباره عکاسی؛ رولان بارت؛ مترجم: فرشید آدرنگ؛ تهران، ماه ریز، 1379؛ 175 ص، مصور؛ شابک: 9647049404؛

عنوان: اتاق روشن: اندیشه هایی درباره ی عکاسی؛ رولان بارت؛ مترجم: نیلوفر معترف؛ تهران، چشمه، 1380؛ 144 ص، مصور؛ شابک: 9643620077؛

Sep 14, 2015 Miguel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

André Kertész - O Cãozinho , Paris - 1928

A Câmara Clara , livro de elaboração teórica e crítica, compromete-se a escandir o génio da Fotografia.
Roland Barthes aceita a completitude e o carácter constitutivo, verificativo e probatório de uma foto. Porém, o melindre e a subtileza que lhe são indissociáveis são os verdadeiros potenciadores deste ensaio, em que os noemas apostos à Fotografia reforçam a latência da paixão de um fotógrafo iniciático.
Jan 13, 2016 Roya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could give it tens of thousands of stars, and still it wouldn't be enough.
Walid Elalfy
Feb 03, 2013 Walid Elalfy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

هو "انا " الذى لا يتطابق ابدا مع صورتى , لان الصوره هى التى تبدو ثقيله ,ساكنه, عنيده وهو "انا" الذى ابدو خفيفا منقسما ,مشتتا ,كعفريت العلبه ,لا ابقى ساكنا ,بل مهتاجا فى انائى
Feb 15, 2009 M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, theory
This is the first book of Barthe's that I've read as a whole that has fully resonated with me (though to be fair, it's only the second book-as-a-whole of his that I've read (the other being The Pleasure of the Text, which I feel a somewhat urgent necessity to re-read): I have mostly just jumped around with essays with him), but I really wish I could have read it [and understood it the way I understood it now:] earlier on in my undergraduate career. I feel like, had I penetrated what the book is ...more
This is a curious little book, and it really is a little book – only 119 pages. It is curious because it is two books. The first is a kind of philosophical discussion on the nature of photography. He says many very interesting things here – interesting in a philosophical kind of way. He starts with the basics and works his way up from there. For example, he says we can have three relationships to photographs: we can take them (he doesn’t take them so he has virtually nothing to say about this), ...more
Jon Anzalone
Dec 29, 2011 Jon Anzalone rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Patronizing and solipsistic as a discussion of photography. Barthes spends ample time assigning Latin names to elements of what is, essentially, irony, identifies their interaction as either clever or lame, and then abandons them. Other elements of photography are not considered, and instead he marvels at the possibility that the subject of an old photo may still be alive. He so much as admits he knows not much about photography, and goes on to talk at great length about himself instead.

I've be
Nov 20, 2014 Joao rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meu
Encontrei este livro na seção de fotografia de uma livraria. Interessado, folheei as primeiras páginas e pareceu-me que se tratava de uma reflexão sobre o que separaria a fotografia das outras artes ou, mesmo, se a fotografia mereceria ser tratada como uma. Após a leitura, deslumbrado, devo confessar, concluo que a livraria se enganou, e este livro deveria estar na seção de filosofia.

Como muito bem diz o meu amigo Miguel Botelho "sempre que um homem olha para si próprio, o que nós vemos é o mun
Melika Khoshnezhad
من هیچ دانشی درباره ی عکاسی نداشتم ولی همیشه دلم میخواست یه چیزایی ازش سر در بیارم در حالی که وارد بحث های تکنیکی و ایناش نشم. بیشتر دلم میخواست درباره ی خودش بفهمم. درباره ی معنی اش. و این کتاب خب یه جورایی دقیقن همون چیزی بود که من می خواستم و از خوندنش خیلی لذت بردم. مخصوصن بخش دومش که درباره ی مادرش و عکس کودکی مادرش بود. در حالی که خیلی غم انگیز بود ولی خیلی هم لذت بخش بود.
أحمد زبيدة
قرأت هذا الكتاب مرتين .. مرة باللغة العربية وهذه المرة بالفرنسية، الكاتب ليس مصور فوتوغرافي ولكنه من محبيه، وهو واضع أسس النقد السيميولوجي، تناول الصورة الفوتوغرافية من الجانب الحسي كمتأمل لها وباحث في علاماتها ودلالاتها ومدلولاتها، هذا الكتاب أنار أمامي الطريق نحو الفوتوغرافيا المفاهيمية وفهمت من خلاله لا العلاقة بين المصور والصورة دائمة الذكر وإنما العلاقة بين الصورة ومشاهد الصورة كعلاقة خاصة غير متكررة بين المشاهد والآخر حيث يسبحون في بحر التأويل اللامتناهي والذي تقودهم فيه تجاربهم الشخصية وا ...more
Farzaneh Doosti
Dec 11, 2007 Farzaneh Doosti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: علاقه مندان نقد هنر
جالب بود
در این کتاب بارت صریحن موضع گیری های پساساخت گرایانه شو رو می کنه

اینجا بارت کسیه که کاملا به حواشی می پردازه و می خواد بگه عکس اون مفهوم سنتی ش نیست و در یک تصویر ممکنه ناخن بلند ابژه عکس خیلی تاثیرگذارتر باشه بر ببننده تا مثلن صورت او یا چیزی که نیت تشدید و توجه عکاس بوده - بحثی که بیشتر وارد حوزه ی پدیدارشناسی نقد خواننده مدار و پساساخت گرایی میشه و از بارت يه تصوير دوست داشتني ميسازه، تصويري كه به قول خودش بتونه تو روزهاي سوء شهرت به كارش بياد

اين اولين كتابي بود كه ازش نت برداري دقيق
Jan 14, 2012 Aya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2012-reads
"الفوتوغرافيا في الحقيقة انقلابية، ليس عندما تُفزع وتكدر أو حتى توصم بالعار، ولكن حين تُفكر"

رغم بعض عيوب الترجمة والحواشي أعطيه 5، الكتاب في ذاته رؤية نقدية فنية رائعة، لوحة كبيرة تغوص في تفاصيل الصورة
Nov 14, 2014 hayatem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: أخرى
كتاب جميل يقدم من خلاله رولان بارت الفتوغرافيا برؤية فلسفية فمنولوجية خاصة. بمعنى أدق صورة ذاتية في التصور والفكر .

مساعي بارت في الفتوغرافيا كانت في سبيل الخروج والوصول الى استنتاجات غير التي تكون متبوعة او مشروحة بمنظور اجتماعي، وذلك بغرض مقاومة اي نظام مختزل!
ومن منطلق خبرة الذات المشاهدة، وخبرة الموضوع المشاهد، علاقة الدال الفوتوغرافي ،
سيمياء الصورة الفوتوغرافية، والنظر وراء الصورة الكلية ومحاولة القبض على ذلك الشيء الخفي والغير ظاهر.

( البوكنتوم) وهو مصطلح اخترعه بارت، ويطلقه على التفصيلة
Mana H

بارت در کتاب "اتاق روشن" از عکسهایی حرف می زند که به هیجانش آورده اند یا زخمش زده اند -که او این خاصیت زخم زننده را پنهان در چیزی می داند که پونکتومش می خواند- و در روند پدیدارشناسی عکسهای مهم زندگی اش، می رسد به عکس باغ زمستانی که کودکی مادرش را در خود دارد –بارت کتاب را یکی دو سالی پس از مرگ مادر نوشت- بارت در کتاب، تصویر تمام عکسهایی را که درباره شان حرفی می زند، یا ذکری می رود ازشان، منتشر کرده است، با تاریخ و جزئیات. –مضحک اینکه در چاپ جدیدی از ترجمه فارسی که من دارم، کیفیت عکسها اینقدر بد
Nathanael Booth
This book is not a view of photography as an art-form, but Barthes’ attempt to understand exactly why certain photographs snagged him, tugged at his soul. He distinguishes between studium, that quality that makes the photograph of passing interest, and punctum, the telling detail (a pair of shoes, the texture of a dirt road) that causes the photograph to seem to say more than it does. He suggests that it is so because the punctum gives hints of a fragment of time captured. Indeed, for Barthes th ...more
Caitlin Park
Apr 07, 2013 Caitlin Park rated it it was amazing
Roland Barthes’ "Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography" is a collection of thoughts regarding the experience of viewing the photograph. The famous French literary theorist and philosopher wrote Camera Lucida in 1980 shortly after the death of his mother. He discovered the true value of photography after finding the ‘perfect’ photograph of her, a single frame capturing her entire essence that brought her back to life. Barthes’ Reflections unfold in forty eight investigative chapters, ultimate ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Earline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: photographers
As a photographer I've always wanted to read Barthes and decided to just jump into Camera Lucida... apparently I've been in a French Philosophy/Theory mood lately. The style of Barthes' writing makes this text very accessible and I enjoyed experiencing his journey through understanding photography. In the end I was disappointed because his conclusions are pretty much the complete opposite of my views of photography, and I think that his detachment from the photographic process and his notion of ...more
Aya Ismail BEZINE
الله ينور ..
Jan 12, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it
Notes on whatever:

ch 5: A) Barthe's concern with being cast out of both the critical and the technical halves of photography, of wanting to start from his own concept of what photography "is." He can only feel comfortable trusting his "truest" knowledge, a small handful of photographs he feels are doing what he think photography can do, that he finds genuinely affecting. This sounds really pretentious in the rewriting, but feels honest on the page and actually, like the only logical way to learn
Marwa Assem Salama
إنهم " يكرّسون أنفسهم للقبض على الراهن، ولا يعرفون أنهم عُملاء للموت." ،يقول الفيلسوف رولان...آه.. كحانوتية اللحظات ترى المصورين إذن!! ..حيث تقنيّة الضوء هنا هي مراسم الكفن ..قبل أن تُحنّط لحظةٌ ما أو مشهد في توابيت من الزمن الراكد للأبد..هكذا أجاريه بالفلسفة، ثم أعاند: ولكني لا أريد أن أراهم كذلك!.."المصوّر مثل البهلوان- يضيف رولان- لابد أن يتحدى القوانين المحتملة أو حتى الممكنة إلى أقصى حد."..لما يبدو حتى وصفاً لطيفاً كهذا عن مخيلتيّ شديد البعد؟!..ألا يبدون لك كهواة الصيد؟ ..أعينٌ تجوب المكان، ...more
Amina - أمينَة.
هذا الكتاب كُتب بحب ، إستمتعت جدا بقراءة الفوتوغرافيا من منظور رولاند ...more
Ugh. School.
Kunjila Mascillamani

A paradox: the same century invented History and Photography

Loved the part which spoke of a photograph's violence.

'The photograph is violent: not because it shows violent things, but because on each occasion it fills the sight by force, and because in it nothing can be refused or transformed.

Difference between language and photography. How language by itself is fictional and how unlike photography it doesn't authenticate itself.

how 'paiting can feign reality without having seen it...
Mar 09, 2012 Leslie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college-books
I must confess that I was misled when I chose to read this book for one of my independent reading classes. From the title, I assumed that the book would be about photography, which it only partially concerned. Mainly, Roland Barthes used photography and certain photos to reflect rather philosophically on life, loss, and truth. There were some interesting reflections, and I might have enjoyed the book slightly more if I had opened it with the correct background knowledge. However, as the case was ...more
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Visual arts: Roland Barthes - Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography 1 9 Jul 03, 2014 06:05PM  
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  • The Ongoing Moment
  • The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media
  • Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation
  • The Return of the Real: Art and Theory at the End of the Century
  • About Looking
  • Classic Essays on Photography
  • Regarding the Pain of Others
  • Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths
  • Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
  • After Photography
  • The Photography Reader
  • The Photographer's Eye
Roland Gérard Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development of schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design theory, anthropology and post-structuralism.
More about Roland Barthes...

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“Ultimately — or at the limit — in order to see a photograph well, it is best to look away or close your eyes. 'The necessary condition for an image is sight,'Janouch told Kafka; and Kafka smiled and replied: 'We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.” 102 likes
“What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially.” 83 likes
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