Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Selections from 'Camera Lucida' by Roland Barthes

"Studium... a kind of general, enthusiastic commitment, of course, but without special acuity. It is by studium that I am interested in so many photographs, for it is culturally that I participate in the figures, the faces, the gestures, the settings, the actions" "The second element will break (or punctuate) the studium... this element which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me. A Latin word exists to designate this wound, this prick, this mark made by a pointed instrument: the word suits me all the better in that it also refers to the notion of punctuation, and because the photographs I am speaking of are in effect punctuated, sometimes event speckled with this sensitive points... I shall therefore call punctum; for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole - and also a cast of the dice. A photograph's punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me)."

The punctum is what interested me the most about this reading because it is a feeling that as a photographer you aspire to have in some images, a strong emotional feel to an image that makes the viewer stop and take notice. This is something that is very hard to attain because it is entirely dependent on the viewers past experiences and every person is effected by different images in very different ways.
I think that the punctum is that connection a person can have with an image for whatever reason and they are drawn in and seduced by the picture itself. And now the studium i talked about is a general feeling many people can have towards an image, a feeling of liking something but not loving it.

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