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Summary: Zuromski’s Intimate Exposures

Catherine Zuromski accomplishes a surface reading of the snapshot photography genre, specifically in the domestic setting. She divides her collection of observations and interpretations into two distinct sub-categories: snapshot photography as image-object, and snapshot photography as a set of practices. The album keeper, or owner of the photographs has the agency to organize, embellish and … Continue reading

Barthes Summary 63-94: Winter Garden, History and Labyrinth

Barthes takes the Winter Garden photograph to depict his various thoughts on photography. He notes the element of time and history in photographs, and specifically Winter Garden was “the time when my mother was alive before me is—History” (65). As he recognizes fragments of her, he misses her being, her all together, the essence of … Continue reading

Camera Lucida: Pages 1-40

Attempting to establish – while acknowledging the paradox of – an eidetic science of (P)hotography, Barthes recounts an “ontological desire” that informs his critical framework (3, my emphasis). That is to say, Barthes introduces affect into structural modes of analysis. Camera Lucida reconciles historical, philosophical criticism with a subjective, experiential phenomenology. Barthes details the difficulty … Continue reading

Barthes’ Punctum and the Blind Field

On the nature of the studium: In his subjective examination of multiple photographs, Barthes describes the duality created by the “co-presence” of the studium and the punctum. The studium is coded, and can be understood as the rhetorical meaning of the photograph. On the nature of the punctum The punctum is a sudden ‘prick’ when … Continue reading

Camera Razza: affective ethics and the inefficacy of naivety.

A few weeks ago, class discussion led to the question as to whether or not a technological artifice – in this case, camera technology from the mid 20th century onward – can be inherently racist (and, by extension, be considered in a number of other hierarchical antagonisms such as classist, sexist, ableist, and so forth). … Continue reading

Filters as Connotation: Barthes and Faux-Vintage

Roland Barthes discusses the myth of the natural sign and its relation to photographs; his text “Rhetoric of the Image” examines exactly the manner in which meaning is able to manifest in the image. However, where Barthes mounts an analysis of an advertisement consisting of images and text, I will examine the trend of imposing … Continue reading

Drawing the punctum to the forefront via Dear Photograph

In Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography, Linda Rugg describes how Christa Wolf uses the missing photos from her childhood to recreate her past. According to Rugg, “Wolf reenters, reclaims, and rewrites her childhood memories through the photographic frame” (6). Wolf’s tendency to access her past through photographs is not unique – it’s a common trope … Continue reading

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