We moved to the US in 1981, the year that Roland Barthes’ final book Camera Lucida was posthumously published in English translation. I had no more knowledge of this book then than I had any notion that my interest in photography would take a back seat for nearly a decade. This is neither whinge nor regret. It was simply that life, family, work and financial imperatives had to prevail.
I had already retired by the time a copy of Camera Lucida found its way to me. Indeed it was, in part, a retirement gift, intended as a torch to light the future rather than illuminating the past. Let me say that forty years after publication, I have found great insight into my own interest in photography through the pages in this book. I have come to see how and why some of the perfections that photographer friends have chased have not mattered quite so much to me.[Read more…] about Reading Barthes Helps