"In 1865, young Lewis Payne tried to assassinate Secretary of State W.H. Seward. Alexander Gardner photographed him in his cell, where he is waiting to be hanged. The photograph is handsome, as is the boy: that is the studium. But the punctum is: he is going to die. I read at the same time: This will be and This has been. I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake. By giving me the absolute past of the pose (aorist), the photograph tells me death in the future. What pricks me is the discovery of this equivalence. In front of the photograph of my mother as a child, I tell myself: she is going to die. I shudder, like Winnicott’s psychotic patient, over a catastrophe which has already happened. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.”
-CAMERA LUCIDA, Roland Barthes

"In 1865, young Lewis Payne tried to assassinate Secretary of State W.H. Seward. Alexander Gardner photographed him in his cell, where he is waiting to be hanged. The photograph is handsome, as is the boy: that is the studium. But the punctum is: he is going to die. I read at the same time: This will be and This has been. I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake. By giving me the absolute past of the pose (aorist), the photograph tells me death in the future. What pricks me is the discovery of this equivalence. In front of the photograph of my mother as a child, I tell myself: she is going to die. I shudder, like Winnicott’s psychotic patient, over a catastrophe which has already happened. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.”

-CAMERA LUCIDA, Roland Barthes

  1. perhapsthebirds reblogged this from the-exit and added:
    Secret: I love Barthes lighter works much more than his structuralist stuff. He just gets these small passages fiercely,...
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