Camera Lucida

At the beginning of the unit I saw that Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes was on our reading list.  I groaned internally, as I had heard that it was a difficult book to read and understand everything that he was writing about.

However, I love a challenge.

And.. this morning I finished it!

Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that it’s a very difficult book to read, and I doubt that I will ever understand the entire book. But I enjoyed it.  And that’s quite the surprise for me.

My favourite quote from the book is: “I always feel…color is a coating applied later on to the original truth of the black-and-white photograph. For me, color is an artifice, a cosmetic (like the kind used to paint corpses).” (Barthes, R. Camera Lucida, 1981. P.81). I used this quote in my essay for one of the other units and I find it a very thought provoking sentence. There’s a constant debate raging as to whether photographs show truth or not, and Barthes implies that black and white photographs show the truth. This could be considered quite controversial considering the debate on if it’s possible to show the truth through any image.  It could also be taken that he’s saying he doesn’t like colour photography, although I don’t think that is what he was saying. I think he’s saying that colour isn’t necessary in photography.. but I’m not 100% sure what Barthes actually wanted us to take from it.


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