Or so it is according to Roland Barthes in his reflections on photography book “Camera Lucida.”
I woke-up this morning with a burning desire to find out, once again, what cynicism and extreme criticism Barthes had in store on speaking about what make a frame more or less interesting or whether or not it “pricks” him.
Let’s just say, I am no longer hungry.
I get Barthes’ point on how a photograph in order to “animates” and survive has to have a punctum, a blind field that will keep the “Spectator’s” interest vivid even beyond the frame, but, I am in disagreement with him when it comes to what point of interests he finds or denies in the photos he chooses to explain.
It feels to me as if he is purposely going against current in either William Klein photos “Little Italy” or “Queen Elizabeth” from G.W. Willson pointing out that the Punctum for him in these photos is not what others think it really is. But, on the other hand, his explanations seem as if they have to be the only possible ones.
When the whole discussion should instead be on the fact that, since photography is a subjective medium everyone will find a different “point of interest” in each photo that will or will not make them choose and remember the frame. And, also, if a photo does not have a Punctum, but only a Studium, a less invasive, single “peak of pathos,” but a more saddle and humble effect this should not detract entirely from the meaning or the feeling of what the photo is trying to portray.
Subject matter also plays a role in the strength of a photo over another.
The more I read, the more the morning burning desire becomes a raging fire I am not sure I will be able to put out. By saying ” I dismiss all knowledge, all culture, I refuse to inherit anything from another eye than my own,” he sounds rather pompous. Not to mention, this concept is entirely adverse to the reason I personally choose to be a photographer. By looking through someone else’s eyes with can increase out range of vision and learn additional information we may not have seen otherwise.
How could someone not want to cherish such invaluable trait?
The purpose of photographing, is the one of making a moment in time still for others to observe and learn from it.
If the observer is so stubborn not to take advantage of such privilege of this new medium, it his for him to loose.
What I also cannot understand is how Barthes see news photography “unary” or as he describes it as having “no duality, no indirection, no disturbances,” had he seen the news photos coming from the Wars nowadays, he might have changed his mind.
Having not disturbances the photograph can “shout, but not wound,” he said. But, again I highly disagree this is what news photography does.
In any case, I think after this tyrade, I got my inspiration back and I can say I will think twice before I release my camera trigger today, but, again, I truly believe, I am my photography and the viewer choose to see through my eyes, but this does not preclude him to also sees beyond what I choose to show.
And is this creative process sits the beauty of photography: a multi-meaning form of art!