My favourite "Camera Lucida" quotes


There is nothing like philosophy to open up the conscience, or at least the eyes. Camera Lucida, the book on photography by philosopher Roland Barthes, is a classic amongst the classic books that every photographer (and art lover) might read to understand his/her unconscious attraction to photography.

  1. “It is not through painting but through drama that photography reaches art”

  2. “I suppose the very skill of the photographer is to catch something or someone (…) without the knowledge of the photographed subject”

  3. “The photographic shock is meant less to traumatize than to reveal what was perfectly hidden and (…) unconscious to the character”

  4. “Painting can pretend a reality without seing it. (…) Photography can never deny that the thing was there”

  5. “Photography is fundamentally subversive, not when it frightens, repulses or even stigmatises, but when it thinks”

  6. “Staring at the customers of a coffee shop, someone told me (…): "watch how dull they look, nowadays pictures are more alive than people”

  7. “Society works on subduing photography, to temper its madness that continuously threatens to explode to the face to who look at it”

  8. “A kind of umbilical link connects the body of the photographic thing to my photographic eye: light, however unpalpable, is here (…) [the] flesh [we] share”

Camera Lucida book by Roland Barthes on Amazon.