To address the apparently uncoded level of photographs, which troubles the semiological approach Barthes himself adopted in the early s, Camera Lucida advances a theory of photographic meaning that makes a distinction between the studium and the punctum and highlights the punctum as photography-specific. The studium indicates historical, social or cultural meanings extracted via semiotic analysis. For example, the photograph taken by Koen Wessing in p. This kind of meaning is unique to the response of the individual viewer of the image.
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To address the apparently uncoded level of photographs, which troubles the semiological approach Barthes himself adopted in the early s, Camera Lucida advances a theory of photographic meaning that makes a distinction between the studium and the punctum and highlights the punctum as photography-specific. The studium indicates historical, social or cultural meanings extracted via semiotic analysis.
For example, the photograph taken by Koen Wessing in p. This kind of meaning is unique to the response of the individual viewer of the image. The punctum punctuates the studium and as a result pierces its viewer.
To allow the punctum effect, the viewer must repudiate all knowledge. Barthes insists that the punctum is not simply the sum of desires projected into the photograph. Instead, it arises from details that are unintended or uncontrolled by the photographer. Photography can be distinguished from painting or drawing in that its apparatus visualizes the world automatically rather than being wholly informed by the interventions of the photographer.
The theory of the punctum speaks the indexical nature of the photographic medium. It also accounts for the importance of emotion and subjectivity in interacting with photographs. Barthes offers many examples to illustrate his definition of the punctum. As implied from Camera Lucida, if we fail to appreciate what is specific about photography, we miss the affect that makes a photograph personally meaningful to us. It also means that we miss the chance to discover a kind of truth, the truth of unique being.
The punctum is not always available in our everyday existence, and Barthes describes it as life-giving. It should be noted that presenting examples of punctum is an impossible mission. The punctum always turns into the studium when expressed in language. That is also why we may perceive that his examples do not support his theory. Barthes cannot dismiss knowledge as he claims. Camera Lucida: Reflections on photography.
Howard, Trans. New York: Hill and Wang. The emancipated spectator. Elliott, Trans. New York and London: Verso. Share this:.
CAMERA LUCIDA PUNCTUM PDF
B Camera Lucida French : La chambre claire is a short book published in by the French literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes. The book investigates the effects of photography on the spectator as distinct from the photographer, and also from the object photographed, which Barthes calls the "spectrum". In a deeply personal discussion of the lasting emotional effect of certain photographs, Barthes considers photography as asymbolic, irreducible to the codes of language or culture, acting on the body as much as on the mind. The book develops the twin concepts of studium and punctum: studium denoting the cultural, linguistic, and political interpretation of a photograph, punctum denoting the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. Neither writer was a photographer, however, and both works have been much criticised since the s. His examples deal with press photographs and advertising, which make good use of this property or bad use of it, as the case may be. If sentimentality can be seen as a tactic in the late career of Roland Barthes, then Camera Lucida belongs to such an approach.
Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, Part One