Aug 17, 12
Read from June 25 to August 17, 2012
This was Barthes's last book. His style of philosophizing can be entertaining and idiosyncratic and repetitive and self-absorbed but his take is usually original. And his use of language is enterprising.
The topic shows its age due to photography's ubiquity in today's world, but that doesn't particularly diminish Barthes's determined focus and pleasurably studious and introspective elucidations. And Barthes was never deterred from a subject just because it was popular.
The author's attempts to grapple with it acknowledges photography's power. It is this power, felt on some level by us all, which is responsible for its ubiquitousness and it's virtual stranglehold on advertising.
However, his assertion that "in the photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation" is surely dated, an artifact of the 1970s. Today it is habitual to question every photograph's authenticity.