Monday, September 15, 2014

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: a Study Guide.

This study guide of Roland Barthes seminal essay Camera Lucida, is based on a series of blog posts by Andrew King. In my opinion it has to be one of the best interpretations of this frustrating if not opaque piece of writing. Having read Camera Lucida at least 3 times in total and an untold number of part readings, not to mention a variety of reviews and analysis Andrew Kings study guide has completely blown apart my supposed understanding of this classic text. A text that has been and will continue to be essential reading for innumerable undergraduate art, design and photography students. Readers struggling to get to grips with Camera Lucida will find this guide extremely useful, although no substitute for reading the text in its entirety. Even those who feel familiar with this small but taxing piece of writing will find Kings guide of interest and possibly enlightening.  

Who would have thought that  Camera Lucida bore any resemblance to the classical Roman epic poem, the Aeneid, by the poet Vergil.  King suggest comparing the story-line of Camera Lucida with Book VI of the Aeneid.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The guide is based on the 2010 issue of Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes; Translated from the French by Richard Howard; Foreword by Geoff Dyer published by Hill and Wang. However for those based in the UK the Vintage Classics published version has the same page layout and numbering but not the forward by Geoff Dyer, no great loss, and is available from Amazon for less than half the price of the USA version

Another useful review of Camera Lucida by Kasia Houlihan can be found here.

Originally read on the Greenwich English Prof blog.