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Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography Paperback – October 12, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Barthes] has accomplished in this extraordinary book something finer than mere polemic. En route to his last painful discovery, Barthes takes the reader on an exquisitely rendered, lyrical journey into the heart of his own life and the medium he came to love, a medium that flirts constantly with the ‘intractable reality' of the human condition.” ―Newsweek

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374532338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374532338
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for an Art History class (History of Photography). I gave myself exactly one week to read this book. It wasn't enough time; this book is incredibly complex for Undergraduate reading. I had to reread the book several times, but thanks to my teacher, TA and fellow students, we managed to break it down and begin actually seeing what Barthes is saying. He wrote this book as an essay not necessarily to teach but more so to explain why he was attracted to photos more than others while looking for his perfect photo of his recently deceased mother. The first part of the book breaks down and explains the different parts of photography. The most important term to remember is punctum (and studium which goes with it) and enimos, or essence. The Second part breaks down his discovery of the Winter Garden photo (which is never seen in the book) and why he is attracted to it, or other words, he uses the terms from Part One to explain the photo.

As a student I highly dislike this book because of its difficult reading, but as an Art Historian, I find it incredibly useful, especially for any students planning on going into Contemporary art, which is highly dominated by the field of photography.
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This book never cease to make me think about the role of pictures and the way it seduces our senses and memory that is difficult to explain by words. A lot of people arguing on the Barthes insistence on the aura of the pictures, though it's remaining true since the early invention of photography. I'm intrigued by this essay and continually fascinated by this search for meaning in the object of picture. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
One of the most important books on experience, society, and culture, written in the 20th century. The reflection is on photography, but involves aspects from phenomenology, deconstruction, and critical theory. This book should be read by all, not just artist or art historians. There is a massive amount of information in these short passages that read more as a dialog than a formal text. It is often so accessible that it is taking in passing without a thorough engagement.
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Format: Paperback
Quite an interesting documentary of photography by Barthes. I think books like this, and Sontag, are interesting to read as they help us gain perspectives from photography from various approaches. This is simply a nice book to read that happens to reflect on what gifts/memories that images catch and leave behind for society to come.

It is philosophical in the sense that is questions what images do, but again a nice story in that it moves from image to image discussing them. Images of places that make you want to live there, images of people and how these images capture the essence of time, culture, and the gift of being alive.

It's a great read, for me, as a photographer going to my shelf wanting something to read on photography other than about apertures and technical underpinnings. Of course they are related, and unarguably necessary, for good photography - but like Sontag you experience some of the hidden games of photography.

For the deep thinking photographers out there, and admittedly not for all.
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An interesting book, not something that I would have read had it not been required. Nonetheless Barthes raises many interesting points and I am sure that for someone involved in photography it would be a much more engaging read. Even for me it proved palatable.
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This was a great read. Bought it for class along with 4 other photography books.. history of photography. but this was my favorite by far. read it twice. used it for my final in that class and in another class. great read
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This is an excellent book for those who want to understand photography criticism. Ronald Barthes was not a photographer himself, but he greatly helped in the construction of contemporary photography. His writings doesn't make sense some times, but understand that this book was originally wrote in French and at the last living year of Barthes. Then you will understand.
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Format: Paperback
Personally, I found this book to be of uneven quality. It has flashes where it is very good indeed, and then there are sections where I thought that he was meandering.

It is not an easy book, and I did read it slowly. I may well read it again. The overall tone is sombre, and the parts that I like are when he discusses a photograph, because this made me a lot more sensitive to what is in the photo, and what the story could possibly be. This is the singular most achievement of this set of writings.

I am not sure about that section on his mother, but the pain of her loss, and his love for her shine through. This part is deeply personal, and I must admire him for being able to share this.
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