February 4th, 2010 / 9:38 pm

On his mother: “Photography thereby compelled me to perform a painful labor; straining toward the essence of her identity, I was struggling among images partially true, and therefore totally false. To say, confronted with a certain photograph, ‘That’s almost the way she was!’ was more distressing than to say, confronted with another, ‘That’s not the way she was at all.’ The almost: love’s dreadful regime, but also the dream’s disappointing status–which is why I hate dreams. For I often dream about her (I dream only about her), but it is never quite my mother: sometimes, in the dream, there is something misplaced, something excessive: for example, something playful or casual–which she never was; or again I know it is she, but I do not see her features (but do we see, in dreams, or do we know?): I dream about her, I do not dream her. And confronted with the photograph, as in the dream, it is the same effort, the same Sisyphean labor: to reascend, straining toward the essence to climb back down without having seen it, and to begin all over again.”

–Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, p. 66


  1. S.P.

      Barthes = sublime.

  2. S.P.

      Barthes = sublime.

  3. S.P.

      Barthes = sublime.