Any sense of photography’s miracle is largely passé, at least in theoretical circles; no one wants to be hoodwinked by the seeming simplicity of photography’s trick. Along the way, a few pebbles have been tossed into this pool of haughty suspicion. Roland Barthes created a stir with Camera Lucida, when he claimed that photography was “a magic, not an art.” To his detractors, Barthes had betrayed his semiotic credentials and embarrassed himself by reverting to romanticism. How could he argue, for instance, that “a specific photograph, in effect, is never distinguished from its referent”? What could he have meant by cryptically speaking of a photograph as “fugitive testimony,” or as an “emanation of a referent”?78

For Barthes, photography is an ongoing enigma, an exercise in the uncanny—and it can’t help but upend our usual notions of time. “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 occurred. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photo-graph is this catastrophe.”79 There’s nothing special about the object rendered (a woman, a mother); and those who were present, the instant the photograph was taken, probably thought nothing of it, or nothing beyond just another moment passing. 

Its occurrence never predictable, its purpose always ambiguous, the uncanny is down-right creepy in part because of how it creeps up on us; and, like Winnicott’s catastrophe, it usually takes flight before its arrival has been properly noticed. Why should any moment—otherwise an ordinary moment—count so much? The question is like asking, of the phenomenon of déjà vu, Why is this particular moment worthy of happening twice? What can’t be shook is the sense that photography is seeing the image you saw a moment before, and then continuing to see it, as though under some illusion that time is no longer being drawn toward its inexorable future.

For Walter Benjamin, the 19th-century Scottish painter David Octavius Hill was of little consequence. But Hill was also, in a secondary role, a photographer—making photos mostly as aids to his paintings; and it is in that role that he interests Benjamin, who draws upon him to comment on “something strange and new” in the new media. In “A Short History of Photography,” Benjamin examines one of Hill’s photograph of a fishwife from Newhaven and finds that “there remains something that goes beyond testimony to the photographer’s art, something that cannot be silenced, that fills you with an unruly desire to know what her name was, the woman who was alive there, who even now is still real and will never consent to be wholly absorbed in ‘art.'”80 Art is one thing, Benjamin seems to be saying, but this is another.

When Benjamin writes of “an unruly desire to know,” he’s using this phrase in reference to his own experience, which he assumes to be ours as well—that of staring at a photograph of a total stranger, an anonymous woman. A painting wouldn’t compel Benjamin to wonder about this woman in this way. But a photograph involves that “tiny spark of accident” that has “burned through the person in the image with reality, finding the indiscernible place in the condition of that long past minute where the future is nesting, even today, so eloquently that we looking back can discover it.” Whatever artistic decisions have been made by the photographer are inconsequential, says Benjamin, in the face of what he terms “an irresistible compulsion”81 to mull over the existence of this woman—who she was, what she thought. Benjamin is locating a difference in photography—a new experience, as it were. It’s a peculiar, emotional effect that almost any photographic image might have on us.

It is something in the gaze, or rather something crucified between gaze and representation; it is something about time, the excessive immobilization of a desire, or a countermemory, or a hallucinatory flight, or a hallucinatory retention of a fleeting present, or who knows what else. And with these somethings of gaze and time, so photography invents itself a very real proximity to madness.82 

Georges Didi-Huberman

You look at a photograph of your daughter. In this case, you know where the photo was taken: in the living room of your friends’ house in Laurel Canyon, in Los Angeles, with a cork floor beneath your feet. You took the photograph, though you’re not sure that’s important. Nor, frankly, does it seem important where the photograph was taken, or when. Your daughter is smaller, younger—obviously not the age at which you know her now—and that seems enough. In other words, this is not your daughter—not any longer; and the photograph can’t help but resist whatever mental shenanigans you employ to deny this fact.

If you choose to, you can come up with memories of your time in Laurel Canyon—the dog you took care of, the blue pool in the backyard, the weather, your wife taking a nap in the impossibly bright afternoon light of the bedroom. You can also bring to mind memories of your daughter—in that place, at that time. But in looking at this photograph, none of these associated memories really concern or interest you. The image of your daughter, the emotion that floods you as you stare at her—it’s hard to describe, and the effort makes you feel crazy in the telling.

A photography of your wife, taken four or so years ago, would bring about a different emotion, much less a sense of loss. Your wife’s image changes more slowly, offers better the illusion of stasis; you might be surprised in small ways by your wife’s appearance, but your sense of time, your very equilibrium, is never put into question. Looking at this photograph of your daughter, you’re left wondering what has happened to her. The disparity between then and now seems almost catastrophic, in Winnicott’s sense; it’s as though, looking at the photograph, you wish to reach out, not so much to recover something but to stop something from happening that’s already happened. Your daughter is no longer. (You hesitate to say that she’s dead, but you might as well.) She’s now a collection of associated memories—like cork floors, blue pools. The photograph can’t help but serve as a mnemonic impetus, especially if there’s a pictorial context—a background, a setting; but without those, it’s even easier to dispense with the memories and simply see a daughter who is now no longer. Your daugh-ter, or that daughter, is gone. And gone where? Where does anything go, in that sense? The concept of memory—or, on a more elevated level, history—seems a hackneyed response to that question, and one whose failure to provide an adequate answer is what photography discloses.




It is as if the Photograph always carries its referent with itself, both affected by the same amorous or funereal immobility, at the very heart of the moving world: they are glued together…like those pairs of fish (sharks, I think, according to Michelet) which navigate in convoy, as though united by an eternal coitus. The photograph belongs to a class of laminated objects whose two leaves cannot be separated without destroying them both—referent and photo.83 

Roland Barthes


In Camera Lucida, his final book, Roland Barthes was interested in getting to the heart of photography—”a fascinating and funereal enigma,” he called it—and yet he didn’t particu-larly turn to the semiotic tools by which he’d hitherto made his mark. He argued that there is an escapable corporeality about any photograph: “From a real body, that was there, rays went out that came to touch me, me who is with he or she who was photographed.” None of the typical postmodern hesitancy here, no embarrassment in referring to reality, nor in suggesting that photography has an unusual, unprecedented relationship with things veridical. Barthes does reveal a “discomfort” early in Camera Lucida, which he defines as “the uneasiness of being a subject torn between two languages, one expressive, the other critical.” But he’s opting, at least in this particular book, for the expressive—a way of conceptualizing the experience of looking at photographs, a phenomenological approach that sets aside the emphasis on meaning and skips over the usual suspicions vis-a-vis codification. Barthes engages his own bodily responses: “I make myself the measure of photographic “knowledge.”84

What interests Barthes, in looking at photographs, is something that transcends the frame itself, that goes beyond the idea of representation that exists, for example, in painting. Barthes had already intimated as much seven years earlier, in The Pleasure of the Text: “That is what representation is: when nothing emerges, when nothing leaps out of the frame.”85 Barthes refers to this emerging element as the punctum, “which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me.”86 It is, in that sense, Cupid’s arrow: a form of desire, unexpected and often, from the photographer’s point of view, unintended. This punctum is distinguished by Barthes from the studium, which he refers to as “a kind of education  (knowledge and civility, ‘politeness’),”87 often taking the form of a myth. The studium is the common ground of meaning, of shared experience—what we usually think of as the more routine topic or subject of the photograph, or its idea. For Barthes, a viewer of a photograph might like the studium, but love is reserved for the punctum.

The punctum comes, as it were, in two flavors. The one is entirely subjective—a detail, often peripheral or seemingly insignificant to the photography, but having special sway over the individual viewer. (Love, yes, but only in the eye of the beholder.) But Barthes goes on to say that there is another kind of punctum—this one associated with the element of time, or what he calls “the lacerating emphasis of the noeme (‘that has been’), its pure representation.”88 What lacerates here, what causes both pain and pleasure, is the uncanny presence of past and present in a single image. We stare at a photograph and see something that is (visually existent), even as we realize that we’re also looking at something that was—or, more precisely, something that has been. Unlike the other, subjective form of punctum, this temporal uncanny goes beyond anything comprehensible through cultural analysis of a photograph’s content. There is something eerily alive, Barthes seems to be suggesting, and it’s not in the photograph. The punctum pierces us by not stating the obvious or telling us what we either already know or should’ve known. Instead, it introduces a relational component to the act of viewing—something akin to an interaction between viewer and photograph, or what Benjamin referred to as auratic experience.

Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks.89 

Roland Barthes


Photography has always been a bit of an embarrassment, a bastard sibling to painting—too easy, too mechanical, too prone to accidents, too reliant on exactly the reality that painting boldly seeks to regenerate in new forms. For the past century and a half, photography has been mired in an effort to be taken seriously, to find a hold in the art world. And, in a strange way, its miracle has long been its undoing. From the beginning, photography endured the pressures of expectation, the desires of a strangely retroactive form of anticipa-tion. Photography was what so many had wanted, it seemed—a mixture of science and magic, a way to almost touch reality by having reality touch, as it were, the magic tablet of film’s surface. Disappointment, or suspicion, seemed inevitable from the start.

Even today, photography can’t help but conjure more than a little skepticism: photogra-phy as poser, technological imposter, or party crasher—signaling the end of art as we know it. Photography has become, as Neville Wakefield puts it, “our adult comedy action drama of ontological failure.”90 It both bears the burden of its early association with positivism, as a form of technology that resisted subjective impulses, and largely mirrors the historical and cultural process whereby subjectivity, of whatever kind, came into dispute. Squeezed be-tween pretentions of objectivity and sentimental ideas of personal expression, photography can sometimes seem tired—crawling its way into the art world as though to seek a refuge.

The photograph is handsome, as is the boy: that is the studium. But the punctum is: he is going to die.91 

Roland Barthes


In critical commentaries, the idiosyncrasy of Barthes’s punctum sometimes takes on an overly personal nature, as though its difference with stadium amounted to that between public and private; as though the dog in the background of a photograph might serve in every case as punctum for the canine enthusiast. It’s instructive, then, to supplement Barthes’s notion with Benjamin’s idea of that “tiny spark of accident”—that part of a photograph that seems superfluous, contingent, and extraordinary. No wonder that Benjamin went on to link this tiny spark with the Proustian paradox of things most personal coinciding with the absence of individual will, and vice versa. What isn’t to be silenced, from Benjamin’s perspec-tive, is exactly what Barthes claims is beyond the control of the photographer. It is un-intended, no more willed than a Freudian slip (another Proustian form of who-done-it).

Photography involves for both Barthes and Benjamin something excessive, sprawling; and it is, in that sense, unauthored. This is the magic of photography, but also its downfall: it’s tempting to say it’s just a trick, or it’s easy, or it isn’t art, or it carries us beyond subjectiv-ity to an objectivity that’s more dumb than insightful. As the Freudian might say, photogra-phy is overdetermined, for better or worse. And of course photography is not alone in suffering this burden—literature and painting can be seen in this way, too; when Barthes famously wrote about the death of the author, the absence of control over the artistic product, he wasn’t talking about photography. And yet perhaps it’s photography that produces the clearest example of an art form without an artist, or without the artist’s prerogative—what some used to call imagination.

Cases which are devoted from the first to scientific purposes and are treated accordingly suffer in their outcome, while the most successful cases are those in which one proceeds, as it were, without any purpose in view, allows one to be taken by surprise by any new turn in them, and always meets them with an open mind, free of presuppositions.92 

Sigmund Freud


To what degree do we author ourselves, control our lives? From Judith Butler’s perspec-tive in Giving an Account of Oneself, the goal of psychoanalysis isn’t to gain control over your life, nor to “transform the unconscious itself into reflective, conscious articulation”—the most traditional and straightforward therapeutic ideal. If so, then a psychoanalytic cure would imply a mastery over unconscious material, a victory of enlightenment, and that for Butler is “an impossible ideal, and one that undercuts one of the most important tenants of psy-choanalysis.”93 Life is excessive, Butler seems to be saying, and we might as well get used to its inordinate character. In this reading of Freudian psychoanalysis, heavily influenced by Winnicott, the ego is not an entity or substance—to be realized, to be strengthened or corralled—but an array of relations and processes. Our authority over ourselves is heteroge-neous. Every one of us personifies a web of relationships that defies easy classification, indicating a profound permeability of the self, suggesting that we are anything but masters of our own destinies.

Butler wishes to shed psychoanalysis of its scientific and hermeneutic bias. Mostly she does this by drawing out the implications of Freud’s concept of transference. According to Butler’s brand of psychoanalysis, transference isn’t a hurdle to be overcome but an acknowl-edgement of our dependency and of the extent to which we are connected to something larger than ourselves. (Life isn’t so much authored, in that sense, as collaboratively endured.) “If we are formed in the context of relations that become partially irrecoverable to us,” Butler writes, “that opacity seems built into our formation and follows from our status as beings who were formed in relation to dependency.” In other words, human beings aren’t depen-dent creatures who grow up and then become independent entities, capable of self-know-ledge and self-direction, however attractive that scenario. “The purpose here is not to celebrate a certain notion of incoherence,” Butler writes, “but only to point out that our incoherence establishes the way in which we are constituted in relationality: implicated, beholden, derived, sustained by a social world that is beyond us and before us.”94 This is, then, a breathtaking incoherence—the kind that might excite us as much as it humbles us.

You’re on vacation. Or no, not quite: it’s really another house- and dog-sitting excursion to Laurel Canyon, down in Los Angeles, during the heat of summer. You’re alone for a few days with your four-year-old daughter. You play with her in the backyard, in the swimming pool, under the towering eucalyptus trees; it mostly involves a game in which she struggles in the water, as though drowning, and yells, “Save me.” Your role is to oblige. And then later, you and your daughter take the dog for a walk in the neighborhood—no sidewalks, many hills, houses alternating between funky and outsized. (Your house, modest in size but equipped with a bunch of sliding-glass doors, splits the difference.) Together you climb the hills, step on eucalyptus pods, pause as the dog relieves himself.

At one point, along the way, your daughter bumps into you. By accident? No, it seems as though she’s bumped into you on purpose, though you can’t be sure. And then it happens again, and this time it’s more obvious. On a steep hill, you stumble, confused; and she says, in an annoyed, angry voice, “Dada, don’t be so close,” as though you were the instigator, the one who had rudely intruded.

As you regain your balance, you try to make sense of things. Your daughter, so you sur-mise, has a yearning for independence—yes, of course. But that thought is obviously something that can’t be owned or openly acknowledged; and so she pushes it off on you, accusing you of wanting to be too close to her. You have a mind to let her know that she’s avoiding the truth of the matter, skirting her own responsibility for these physical collisions. In this scenario, you’ll be an agent of reality, the purveyor of mature truths. Your daughter will learn a lesson in rationality. And yet a recent jag of psychoanalytic reading, and even a pilgrimage to Wilfred Bion’s house in nearby Brentwood (where he took his American exile), has you thinking about things in a slightly different way. He’s not often mentioned alongside Winnicott, but Bion, too, is a skeptic of forms of learning that deny the primitive.

You imagine, then, a more archaic scenario. Perhaps your daughter is evacuating a part of herself, as it were—the part that yearns to be far away from Dada, or not requiring him so much—and then projecting it onto you. You are a kind of safe, holding something important at arm’s length. Isn’t your daughter looking for, as it were, a container for this difficult emotion that she’s busily experiencing? Rather than handing it back, as though it were a hot potato, maybe you should keep it; maybe you should suck up your pride and act the role of the shamed instigator. Of course it’s hard to know. In any case, walking the hills of Laurel Canyon, dog in tow, you’re not only having trouble recovering your balance—you’re no longer able to find the recognizable line between you and your daughter, between dreams and reality. Things seem much more messy.



What was it that Proust sought so frenetically? What was at the bottom of these infinite efforts? Can we say that all lives, works, and deeds that matter were never anything but the undisturbed unfolding of the most banal, most fleeting, most sentimental, weakest hour in the life of the one to whom they pertain? When Proust…described the hour that was most his own, he did it in such a way that everyone can find it in his own existence. We might almost call it an everyday hour; it comes with the night, a lost twittering of birds, or a breath drawn at the sill of an open window. And there is no telling what encounters would be in store for us if we were less inclined to give in to sleep. Proust did not give in to sleep.95 

Walter Benjamin

For Barthes, the punctum, photography’s saving grace, is likened to a roll of the dice. It’s literally an accident—not only beyond the photographer’s intention but beyond the theo-retical project of meaning. The punctum frustrates theoretical conjecturing; theory is necessar-ily descriptive, and accidents are notoriously difficult to anticipate, let alone describe. In an academic environment devoted to the apprehension and exploration of meaning, critical theorists might be fine with eschewing authorial intention, but—a roll of the dice? And so the pratfalls of photography are usually ignored by critics or swept conveniently into the conceptual subgenre of chance photography. And, for their part, photographers are usually amenable to this arrangement. If one sign of photography having arrived in the art world is a heightening of critical discourse, isn’t it natural that photographers would anticipate that discourse and take pictures accordingly? Whether it’s the current vogue in staged photogra-phy or the old-fashioned idea of the decisive moment—Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Leica poised, waiting—luck is mostly kept at bay and genius emphasized.


How best to look at a photograph? (Or a face. Or a mitten.) To some degree, this ques-tion begs another: What do you assume you might take away from a photograph? One approach to looking suggests a form of mental struggle, as in looking at any piece of art; that is, the viewer must try to be diligently attentive and avoid any distracting irrelevancies. In Critical Realism, Dagmar Barnouw identifies this view with the art theorist Rudolf Arnheim, who happened to write an extensive review in 1960 of Siegfried Kracauer’s Theory of Film, taking issue with the book’s ideas on photography—or perhaps just with photography itself. “The addicts of photography seem highly distracted,” Arnheim wrote. “They think less well. Their ever stimulated curiosity makes them lose themselves in the capillaries of the particu-lar….Photographic information, potentially a magnificent source of knowledge, seems to serve as a powerful distraction from insight.”96

It’s hard to imagine a definition of artistic sensibility more thorough in its opposition to Kracauer’s ideas and a photographic aesthetic significantly influenced by surrealism. After all, Kracauer (like Barthes and Benjamin) was very interested in those “capillaries of the particular,” or what he himself called “the irrepressible and irresistible presence of details”; and he imagined—whether in an historical or photographic context—that a form of distrac-tion was, in fact, the best method of apprehending these details. If Arnheim worried that “mere exposure to the visible surface of the world will not arouse ideas unless the spectacle is approached with ideas ready to be stirred up,” Kracauer was then unusually patient in waiting for his ideas. He saw himself less an analytic theorist and more a “receiving instru-ment” or “divining rod.” Whether in pursuit of photographic or historical knowledge, Kracauer was always a believer in “productive absentmindnedness,” wherein a person “opens himself up to the suggestion,”97 in much the same way that Freud, a renowned sniffer of things insignificant, promoted a psychoanalyst’s “evenly divided attention” to attain a form of receptive reverie.


No writing can give me this certainty. It is the misfortune (but also perhaps the voluptuous pleasure) of language not to be able to authenticate itself. The noeme of language is perhaps this impotence, or, to put it positively: language is, by nature, fictional; the attempt to render language unfictional requires an enormous apparatus of measurements: we convoke logic, or, lacking that, sworn oath; but the Photograph is indifferent to all intermediaries: it does not invent; it is authentication itself; the (rare) artifices it permits are not probative; they are, on the contrary, trick pictures: the photograph is laborious only when it fakes.98 

Roland Barthes

You’ve always felt an inclination to look at people, whether out of desire or, more often, simple curiosity. And yet you’ve never wanted people to know that you wanted to look. In a nutshell, that’s the secret, the one you keep, along with a concomitant fear, a childlike one, that your secret can be known even with eyes averted. Your mind can be read. If people knew what I was thinking—for you, the incubus of everything that humiliates.

Of course, there’s always the opposite possibility: if you knew what other people were thinking, perhaps then you’d be safer. This knowledge would give you a degree of control, however middling; and so you try, tiptoeing into that netherworld between you and others: ear to the wall, you listen for tidbits to help you manage the flow of information from your side of things. Given the right data, you might alter your image, accordingly, and lessen the prospect of damage. And that’s obviously one reason why the act of writing appeals to you: it creates a zone of privacy in which you can manufacture yourself, without the temptations or perils of extemporaneity. Though there, too, there’s a limit: sooner or later, your mouth opens, secrets spill, and there’s no turning back the clock.


Psychoanalysis has always prided itself on its hard-nosed sense of challenge, as though psychic meaning—given in “the interpretation”—were the bravest answer to the queries of the body. And that that meaning might disgust or embarrass shouldn’t prevent us from pursuing it. A psychoanalyst sifts through the unconscious material provided by the patient and then—through the use of language—boldly interprets it, making it conscious. It’s a familiar story, this narrative of the cure: the invisible becomes visible; what can’t be faced is finally acknowledged, described in words that shake free and somewhat dissolve internal disturbances. This interpretive power has always been the appeal of psychoanalysis within the field of literary criticism, where text and symptom coincide.

There is, however, an entirely different vortex in psychoanalysis, beginning in some of Freud’s own writings but displayed most dramatically in Sandor Ferenczi and Otto Rank’s The Development of Psychoanalysis, published in 1925 and solidifying their ostracism from the loyal ranks of early Freudians. In that book they criticized what they saw as an overemphasis on interpretation in psychoanalysis and proposed, as a goal, the substitution of “affective factors of experience for intellectual processes.”99 

Indeed, to understand contemporary psychoanalytic theory is to witness the remarkable ascendancy of Ferenczi, once a demonized outlier, and to recognize the new role given to emotions and relationships, whether in the consulting room or outside of it. In this sense, the recent history of psychoanalysis has been a journey back—not so much a “return to Freud,” as goes the Lacanian rhetoric, or even a return to Ferenczi, but a return to a phase of child-hood that Freud gave short shrift: the preoedipal, what comes before cognition, and even before language and its retrospective construction of meaning. Emphasizing the emotional side of metapsychology, psychoanalytic theory has recently taken on a renewed interest in transferential conundrums that blur the distinction between conscious subjectivity, with its traditional forms of psychological insight, and affective experiences of dream, intoxication, or other types of reverie.

In this version of psychoanalysis—spirited by Winnicott, Bion, and others—the analyst serves as a kind of medium for emotional communication. No longer does the analyst, keep-ing his thoughts to himself, sit back and listen as though his patients were presenting him with unconscious objects that could be, from his objective point of view, analyzed or inter-preted—like in some Viennese Antique Road Show. The expert expounds! That scientific model required a bracketing of the subjective, and that model, at least for someone like Winnicott, writing in the middle of the twentieth century from his London office, seemed doomed.

Freud ultimately regarded the dream’s manifest content as a mere vehicle for expressing a latent psychic content. Benjamin, however…denied that the sensually experienced material world was merely an inessential surface, beneath which the essential, psychic message lay hidden.100 

John McCole

Freud had a fascination for art, particularly for sculpture. Published in 1939, Moses and Monotheism, one of his last books, takes it lead from Michelangelo’s famous Moses. In Freud’s time, photographs of works of art were often used as means of close observation, all the better to reveal artistic meaning, just as a set of X-rays or microscopic slides might disclose what would otherwise be considered medical mysteries. It comes as no surprise that Freud’s approach to these photographs, and to art in general, was in keeping with the interpretive methods that he used in his consulting room to examine patients. “The divining of psychic states from somatic actions was Freud’s stock-in-trade,” the historian Mary Bergstein writes, “and he applied it to the Moses much as he would have applied it to a human patient.”

In Freud’s view, art comes from the unconscious, from the depths of our unspoken and unknown thoughts, and so its product exists as a riddle to be unraveled. And photography is useful here in providing a lens through which we might better pick apart the various detailed meanings buried in any work of art. As Bergstein argues, photography and its methods of exposure served as “an extension of Freud’s morphological approach to mental life, that is, deciphering the inside (psychic phenomena) from observing the outside (physical or motor phenomena).” 101

Leaving your house, you walk with your dog to the hardware store and purchase light bulbs. The woman behind the counter gives your dog a small treat: a biscuit. Suddenly hungry yourself, you think of buying a bagel at the shop next door, but the line of patrons changes your mind.

Walking home, you spot two women coming toward you. They’re young, strikingly attractive, and lesbian—the latter something you could guess at, even if they weren’t walking arm-in-arm, seemingly on top of the world. In your neighborhood, which is predominately made up of gay men, you are a heterosexual exile; and so this unusual moment isn’t to be missed, and the women’s sexual preferences are without significance. You look, with pleasure; and then you look away—not wanting to intrude, to give away the secret of your desire.

As you pass the women, you’re startled to hear one of them say, “Hey, beautiful!” She says it in your direction. You have no time to think; in a split second, you’re in heaven: you’ve been recognized as a man, a beautiful man, by a woman who’d a moment earlier stood in your mind as an exemplar of beauty. Then you realize that she’s talking to your dog: the Ibizan Hound, looking sleek, even stunning, and a girl to boot.

Perhaps it’s silly, but the mind doesn’t much care: you feel cheated. You had something, and now it’s been taken back. You’ve returned to where you were, to who you are, to your invisibility. No one has seen fit to express especial interest in your existence. None of this is surprising, of course, and yet for a moment you’d been fooled—if only, predictably, by your own desires.

In the third volume of Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust tells the story of a boy who, in a stolen moment, comes upon his grandmother, oblivious and absorbed in reading; and, in seeing her, the narrator likens himself to a photographer—that is, a person who sees the world through a dispassionate lens that tends to flatten things, objectify things. For Marcel, his grandmother becomes, at least in that moment, “red-faced, heavy and vulgar.” Suddenly, with the blink of an eye, or in the duration of a shutter dropping its curtain, the beloved woman is just like any other “overburdened old woman whom I did not know.”102 What is familiar becomes strange—as though the boy were looking not at his beloved grandmother but at someone else’s. (The truth is—how little we care about anyone else’s grandmother.) The camera, for Proust, is a kind of cold truth machine delivering sobering news.

It’s important to remember that Marcel doesn’t photograph his grandmother, nor even look at a photograph of her. He sees her, and yet there’s a disturbance in his seeing. Likening that disturbance to photography could be a useful way of describing it or conjuring it, but the point is that seeing itself is complicated enough. Photography might help us to under-stand the complexities of seeing, but it doesn’t seem quite fair to blame photography, or bring suspicion upon it, just because it reminds us of our own compromised, all-too-human seeing, or because it conjures unrealistic hopes. Any notion of photography as producing a positivist account of reality, a means of overcoming the limitations of seeing, involves a wish piggybacked on a disappointment.


At the beginning of photography, no one dared to look at the faces on the plate for too long. They thought those faces were also able to see them.103 

Walter Benjamin

Photography can offer the experience of looking at someone we don’t know, a stranger, and then feeling a kind of intimacy, as though this person was familiar to us. Some of this is the illusion of photography, which allows a viewer both to stare, with no time constraints, and to get close enough to see someone, as though sitting across a table in a cafe. (In real life, before the advent of photography, when would you have had such an opportunity?) It is an illusion, of course—we aren’t really intimate with this person in the photograph: we’ve never spoken a word to them, they don’t know we exist, and so on. But in that sense Proust’s boy, too, momentarily suffers an illusion: his grandmother is not a stranger, he only imagines her that way.

In both of these cases—where something close to us seems far away, where something far away seems close—we end up in a new psychic place after our visual experience. We may easily end up feeling strange ourselves, even somewhat exiled. Inevitably, Marcel not only has now a different vision of his grandmother but, by extension, a different sense of himself. In the same way, we often feel an uncanny intimacy looking at photographs of strangers, which can’t help but change our conception of ourselves. Who are these people? we may ask of photographed strangers. But it doesn’t take long before we begin to wonder, too, who we are, or how we are in relation to these photographed strangers. (Is it only because we are seeing them now—thrust into a relation, as it were?) We end up feeling unmoored, to some extent, in a way similar to the exiled status of Kracauer’s historian—whose predica-ment, in fact, he likens to Proust’s boy’s, living in “the near-vacuum of extra-territoriality, the very no-man’s land which Marcel entered when he first caught sight of his grandmother.”104 We lose our spatial balance, our sense of where we live and where we don’t.


Surrealism wanted a photography that was critical of positivism, yet at the same time saw in the photograph’s indexicality a “new real” or new realm of the everyday, an everyday that connected the insignificant and ordinary to an increased social intensity of perception.105 

John Roberts

In Edward Weston’s Daybooks—journals from his days in Mexico in the mid-1920s—he writes that “the camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very sub-stance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.”106 Weston’s achievement, then, is a realism that expresses a belief in an essence and in the worthiness of seeking after that essence—whether a pepper, a steel mill, or a woman’s body. What you see, when you look at one of Weston’s peppers, isn’t just any pepper. According to this brand of realism, Weston is a visionary: he’s capable of creatively and imaginatively rendering what amounts to a Platonic ideal of the pepper. (The use of an image wouldn’t please Plato, of course.) Weston’s is not so much a belief in ordinary objects but in what those objects might reveal about themselves: an internal revelation, a knowledge inherent in itself, in the object.

Some might confuse this kind of realism with Barthes’s insistence on the indistinctive re-lation between referent and photograph, along with the rest of his often scandalous conjec-tures on photography. But Barthes, the self-described “realist,” is hardly interested in the reality of a photograph establishing any truths beyond the most ordinary and banal. When he claims that, in any photograph, “the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation,” or when he likens that authentication to the kind of certainty that doubting St. Thomas was seeking in his protestations to Jesus, Barthes’s point is that photography is merely dumb in its luck; contrary to painting, where representation is everything and issues of authentication are limited to the identity of brush-wielder, photography bears its testi-mony “not on the object but on time.”107 In other words, Barthes’s realism isn’t about the so-called truth value of photography—Weston’s “thing itself”—or its creative intention, as much as it is about the contingencies exposed once time is made tentative. Weston’s photography bears a yearning for things universal and tirelessly quintessential; and whatever his pepper amounts to, it’s immune to time. For Barthes, time can’t really be avoided: spoilage is inevitable, and even beautiful.

The realists, of whom I am one and of whom I was already one when I asserted that the Photograph was an image without code—even if, obviously, certain codes do inflect our reading of it—the realists do not take the photograph for a “copy” of reality, but for an emanation of past reality: a magic, not an art. To ask whether a photograph is analogical or coded is not a good means of analysis. The important thing is that the photograph possesses an evidential force, and that its testimony bears not on the object but on time. From a phenomenological viewpoint, in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.108 

Roland Barthes

You close your eyes and imagine this: a man and a woman are having lunch at a restau-rant, a diner. They’re just finishing up their meal. He’s wearing a leather jacket and sun-glasses, a likely enough outfit for any young man, even though he’s sitting indoors. Right at this moment, his hands are together in front of his face, one holding a cigarette; his partner, her back to us, has her left hand poised near her mouth—presumably she’s taking a bite of something from her plate.

Now you open your eyes, return to reality, the same day on which you’re writing these words—or reading them. And then you reach for Street Seen, a book of photographs, and turn to page 77; and you see it—the picture, entitled Horn & Hardart, 14th Street.109 It’s a photograph taken by Louis Fauer on a day in 1947, in a Manhattan restaurant. Oddly, it could be a photograph taken today, or on any of the days of the last sixty-four years. The black-and-white might suggest something old, but otherwise the scene is contemporaneous enough: a couple, a moment between them, a diner in New York.

This exercise—imagining, looking (a form of imagining?)—makes you wonder, like so many others have wondered, What is photography? A photograph is always something definitely past, and yet—in looking at a photograph—you are always looking at a present moment. To say that the photograph is only a “representation” of a present moment doesn’t really help, especially since it’s hardly a representation in the sense that a drawing on a napkin, made by a curious man sitting at a nearby table would be a representation. Nor is the photograph like some film noir treatment of the moment in a movie, where we’re asked to believe that the past is really happening, as it were. A photograph isn’t about being suckered, even pleasantly; whatever happens in looking at a photograph seems more pressing, more real, and yes, sometimes more painful.

I told my grandmother that I could not see very well, and she handed me her [opera] glasses. But when one believes in the reality of things, making them visible by artificial means is not quite the same as feeling that they are close at hand. I thought that it was no longer [the actress] Berma but her image that I was seeing in the magnifying lenses. I put the glasses down. But perhaps the image that my eye received of her, diminished by distance, was no more exact; which of the two Bermas was the real one?110 

Marcel Proust

Proust’s passage in Within a Budding Grove, about Marcel’s trip to the theater to see his beloved Berma, is sometimes read as a postmodern gloss on mediated perception—that is, taken as “a condition of reciprocal resemblance that undermines the authority of the original,”111 as Richard Shiff describes the idea. According to this reading, the loss of the original is emphasized, and Marcel’s subsequent plight (and ours) is one of having to deal with only disappointing, artificial means of facing reality. As with Benjamin’s aura, the original is obscured, supposedly leaving us lost amid conflicting viewpoints.

Shiff thinks differently, suggesting that what’s important for Proust and Benjamin is not so much the question of the authority of the original but the interplay of perspectives. In other words, Marcel is simply caught between two ways of seeing. The point isn’t that both are short of originality, or that vision is hopelessly constructed by cultural expectations, but that neither is more authoritative than the other. What’s more interesting, as Shiff says as he examines the passage about Berma, is observing how things of importance “must appear both near and far: near because the effect is overwhelming and inescapable; far because the reality can never be fully grasped.”112 We assume that our problem is only one of access; but, as it turns out, closer is not necessarily better. 

As Shiff is quick to note, the word aura shows up in the very next paragraph of Proust’s novel, as though to suggest the spatial complexities of Marcel’s situation. Berma is distant. 

This aura, writes Proust, is one that “surrounds momentous happenings, and which may be visible hundreds of miles away.” As always in Proust, the model of this seeing is desire itself; in making his trip to the theater, Marcel suffers “the cruel anxiety of the seeker after truth.”113 Marcel’s “truth” isn’t in seeing Berma, but in possessing her. We can imagine that his desire to see better is tantamount to what he calls the feeling of someone “close at hand.” In other words, a distance is overcome. And yet Berma remains as somehow beyond reality—something he can’t quite get to. Not because there isn’t a real Berma, or that his perception of her is necessarily a distortion, but because this is how desire works—in life, in fantasy, in art. “The distance between you and the object dissipates,” Shiff explains, using as his example a work of art and the intimacy a viewer might feel in relation to it, “yet it remains distinctly separated from you, however immaterial its physical presence might seem to be.”114

Proust’s mémoire involontaire…produces a heightened awareness of the experience of the past, appearing, so it seems out of nowhere. For Benjamin, famously, photographs trigger such memories, often because of their ‘posthumous shock.’ Referring to the photograph of Dauthendey’s suicidal wife, Benjamin cannot help but see in her image his own knowledge of her death reflected back: ‘her gaze reaches beyond him, absorbed into the ominous distance.’ Mémoire involontaire allows the photograph as an object the ability to look at us in return.115 

Damian Sutton

Photography sometimes is taken for a gift, and on this point Barthes concurs. “In every photograph there is always the stupefying evidence of this is how it was, giving us, by a pre-cious miracle, a reality from which we are sheltered,”116 writes Barthes. Photography now provides a gateway to at least one form of reality. That’s good news, it seems—the viewer allowed access, where once it was denied. And yet it’s easy to skip over, or turn a blind eye to our new, vulnerable situation; we are no longer sheltered, says Barthes, which implies that we find ourselves in a new place, without means of protection. It’s almost as though Barthes’s precious miracle reveals not only what we don’t know but what we didn’t know we could know. We both gain and lose, according to this new, photographic proposition; we end up knowing more than we might otherwise, but we also come face to face with a fresh set of limitations—what Barthes terms a neoteric poetics of melancholy.

In The Symptom of Beauty, Francette Pacteau also refers to new constraints initiated by photography. She calls any photograph “a record of impotency”—an object that points to an understandable human failing, if only in terms of our powers of perception. A photograph is “testimony to the impulse, not so much to detain the object as to sustain the moment of its finding, which is also that of its loss,”117 she argues. In this context, Pacteau refers not only to photography but to Baudelaire’s sense of a strangely urban dread: “the thousands of floating existences…that haunt the underworld of a great city.”118 It’s a scenario that clearly frightens us as much as it excites us.

By dramatically increasing the available amount of particularized information, photography not only undercut the physiologies’ vulnerable, simplistic scheme; it ensured that in every context where it intervened, distinguishing the significant from the insignificant would become treacherous. “The principal difficulty of your case,” [Sherlock] Holmes tells his client in “The Naval Treaty,” lay in the fact of there being too much evidence.”119 

Robert B. Ray



A photograph seems, in this context, an intrusion: here is a diner where you’ve never been, on a day when you were probably not even alive. Here is a world before you existed, as photographed by someone named Fauer, who is no longer alive. This world might exit for you as a nostalgic balm—that is, until you realize that this world will still be a world once you stop breathing: the day beginning, the sun coming up, some sadness in a few hearts, but then the machinery of daily life twisting and turning without you. Why is this so hard to imagine?

Or why, in imagining the existence of things beyond our subjectivity, is God always pressed into action? Even then, though—even when evoking the personage of timelessness—it’s always just that: an image of a subjectivity that provides the only objectivity that we somehow crave and can’t otherwise imagine. We want to see around the corner, as it were; we want to see ourselves, without mirrors, or perhaps to see ourselves seeing ourselves. Given these circumstances, God seems necessary as a power to gain the proper, immodest perspective.

Photography can be wounding in this way: it gives us what we want, supposedly—a way of seeing what we otherwise couldn’t see—and yet it also serves as a reminder that in the end we only get a thin slice of the cake, or perhaps a mere crumb. We are brought down to size, our significance shrunk. We are humbled—not before God but before everything. 

The medium offers a melancholy poetics. Traces of things and places that-have-been, a capturing of time lost, a specter of our imminent death—imparting an element of romantic mourning to this very banal object.120 

Roland Barthes

What does Barthes mean when he says the almost unsayable—that a photograph is “a message without a code“? Is this to say that a photography is what it is and nothing more, that a photography doesn’t denote something? If so, what does it do instead? And within what category of knowledge are we then to place photography? In explaining the philosophical stature of photography, Barthes, whose structuralism was linguistic to the core, resorts to what he calls “a this-side of language”—a place where language is insignificant, made useless by what he calls “absolutely traumatic images.” Traumatic? In what sense? Barthes’s point isn’t that some images are traumatic, but that images are inherently traumatic, both because they trade in the impermanent and because they do not present themselves as open texts for interpretation. “The trauma,” writes Barthes, “is a suspension of language, a blocking of meaning.”121 And without meaning—or the kind of meaning generated by critical interpretation—what exactly are we to do with photographs?


Paranoia has by now candidly become less a diagnosis than a prescription.122 

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

In Touching Feeling, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick takes on her own profession, its pretentions, and asks difficult questions of her fellow literary critics. In particular, she discusses a method of textual or visual analysis that not only places “extraordinary stress on the efficacy of knowledge per se,” but always on “knowledge in the form of exposure.” (The photographic connotations are obvious.) Sedgwick refers to this, straightforwardly, as a genre of paranoia. According to this scenario, meaning is everywhere to be found—despite its furtive nature, meaning is plentiful, promiscuous in its symptomatology. Hidden for reasons of political or cultural expediency, these meanings await our best efforts of leveraging reason and per-forming benevolent acts of exposure. In the language of critical inquiry, meaning is demysti-fied, demythologized, undermined, interrogated, or otherwise deconstructed. A hermeneutics of suspicion reigns supreme. In the last four decades, Sedgwick argues, any serious critic needed his or her work to accord with this script of unmasking—what Sedgwick calls “the topos of depth or hiddenness, typically followed by a drama of exposure.”123 


We may suppose—again because of the indexical nature of photography—that there is something like a mourning process that occurs within the semiotic structure of the photograph, as opposed to what would happen with other kinds of images, like drawing or painting. A real mourning process can obviously make use of any kind of image as substitutive object. the mourning process then remains exterior to the semiotic structure of the image. But photography is probably the only image-producing technique that has a mourning process built into its semiotic structure, just as it has a built-in trauma effect.124 

David Campany

“It could be said that Freud’s entire project is a battle against contingency, an attempt violently to yoke it to meaning,” Mary Ann Doane writes in The Emergence of Cinematic Time. What escapes meaning is traumatic; and, with the eye of a physician, Freud wishes to make sense of symptoms, their power embedded in their opaqueness, and to give them meaning so that they, the symptoms, might disappear. In this sense, interpretation serves as kind of interrogatory scalpel: appropriately wielded, it can pass through the resistant tissue of the defenses and reach the true source of trouble. These exposed bits of the unconscious aren’t removed, of course, but somewhat neutralized through the substitution of meaning or insight. And, if so, then daily life can then become less than unbearable, which was Freud’s modest curative expectation.

Less modest, or more agitated, was Freud’s often unspoken fear of what he was working against—accidents, slippage, coincidence, mental imagery, and other instances of what seemed determinedly irrational. While he may have given prominence to what was fluky, this category of things contingent was also his chief and dreaded nemesis. Doane is candid in suggesting that a kind of anxiety overtook Freud, having him both overvalue meaning and overestimate its availability. “Contingency haunted Freud as the mark of interpretive failure,”125 Doane writes, and her tone here is almost tender; a reader senses her wanting to rescue Freud from his worst, paranoiac impulses—to give him the kind of relief that he wished so much to give to others.

So far as photography satisfied a wish, it satisfied a wish not confined to painters, but the human wish, intensifying in the West since the Reformation, to escape subjectivity and metaphysical isolation—a wish for the power to reach this world, having for so long tried, at least hopelessly, to manifest fidelity to another.126 

Stanley Cavell

For Stanley Cavell, a painting, unlike a photograph, is “totally there, wholly open to us”127—both complete and completely present. What does this mean? Is a painting really present, with a kind of earnestness of display, in a way that a photograph isn’t? Yes, says Cavell, because when we look at a photograph we are always seeing something that isn’t present. In getting to the heart of Cavell’s distinction, David Norman Rodowick explains it this way: “That a painting is totally there means that it functions aesthetically in the modality of presence, of being completely present in space and in time and self-disclosing to sight, even if we ourselves fail to see. Its only causal relation to a past state of affairs relates to the layering of paint on canvas by the artist’s hand.”128 In this sense, the illusion set up by a painting is something almost beyond time—something not there until seen, and then coming alive in the viewing. But what are we looking at when we’re looking at a photograph—something there, or something not there? Cavell suggests that this question is not so easily answered.

Is the experience of looking at a photograph really that different from looking at paint-ing? It’s a question that Cavell anticipates, assuming that his critics might object that he’s simply playing games with words; in fact, says his imaginary skeptic, “We’re not seeing something not present, we are looking at something perfectly present, namely, a photograph.” To this, Cavell insists not only on photography’s dependency on a past, its status as ghostly presence, but on mysteries that are exceedingly difficult to understand. “My feeling is rather,” he writes, “that we have forgotten how mysterious these things are, and in general, how different different things are from one another, as though we had forgotten how to value them.” Meaning, as realization or as a form of extended knowledge, is usually con-sidered of ultimate value, in part because of its elusiveness. But Cavell is suggesting a different kind of valuation—the value of a form of ignorance that makes us work a little harder. Seeing “how different different things are from one another”129—that is, failing to make the distinction between things—is a way of not only acknowledging a mystery but experiencing it as well.

Film takes our very distance and powerlessness over the world as the condition of the world’s natural appearance. It promises the exhibition of the world in itself. This is its promise of candor.130 

Stanley Cavell


Sedgwick speaks of the metaphysical deepness of beneath and behind and beyond, only then to make a plea for beside. One imagines a horizontal field replacing a vertical plane of interpretive mastery by one theory over another. Sedgwick isn’t suggesting that beside is without conflict (she offers the marital bed as an instance) but offering an alternative way of making sense of things that doesn’t assume that what’s of value is always buried, securely, like a bone. Sedgwick argues for what she calls “weak theories” (following Silvan Tomkin’s account), which she describes as “often little better than a description of the phenomena which it purports to explain,” preferring them over “strong theories,” in which “like any highly organized effort at detection, as little as possible is left to chance.”131 For Sedgwick, chance is like an annoying fly in the ointment of theory; from a certain perspective, it tends to ugly things up and ruin the kind of theoretical clarity that we all like so much.

“A shudder runs through the viewer of old photographs,” Siegfried Kracauer writes in 1941, offering the example of grandchildren first seeing a photograph of their grandmother as a young girl. It’s perhaps a shudder of recognition, the surprise that a person once perceived as so old could also have been so young. But that doesn’t explain why it’s scary. When Kracauer refers to “spooky apparitions,” and speaks of photography as having a “ghost” or a “costumed mannequin” come alive, what is it that produces this frightful situation? Is it simply the experience of seeing someone who no longer exists, as though they’d suddenly come back to life? Kracauer thinks not: these old photographs “make visible not the knowledge of the original” but what he calls “the spatial configuration of a mo-ment.”132 What’s finally spooky, according to this conjecture, is the way that time collapses while viewing the photograph, as though a set of temporal assurances had flown out the window. In commenting on Kracauer’s shudder, Doane seems right in speaking of “a presence haunted by historicity,” and in claiming that what the children see is “not the grandmother but an image of time, and a time that is not necessary but contingent.”133 What frightens us, according to Kracauer, is an uncanny sense that our own moment—our present—is hanging by a thread.




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excerpted from A Strange Intimacy: Photography and the Problem of Other People


* * *




78 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 88, 5, 93, 80.

79 Ibid., 96.

80 Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings: 1931-1934 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), 510.

81 Walter Benjamin, “A Short History of Photography,” in Classic Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven, CT:: Leete’s Island Books, 1980), 202.

82 Didi-Huberman, Invention of Hysteria, 66.

83 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 5-6.

84 Ibid., 9.

85 Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (New York: Hill & Wang, 1975), 57.

86 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 26.

87 Ibid., 28.

88 Ibid., 96.

89 Ibid., 38.

90 Neville Wakefield, “Second-Hand Daylight: An Aesthetics of Disappointment,” in Veronica’s Revenge: Contemporary Perspectives on Photography, ed. Elizabeth Janus and Marion Lambert (Zurich: Scalo, 1998), 240.

91 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 96.

92 Sigmund Freud, The Freud Reader, ed. Peter Gay (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995), 359.

93 Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself, 58.

94 Ibid., 20, 64.

95 Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings: 1927-1930 (Harvard University Press, 2005), 238-39.

96 Rudolf Arnheim, quoted in Dagmar Barnouw, Critical Realism: History, Photography, and the Work of Siegfried Kracauer (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 80-81.

97 Siegfried Kracauer, History: The Last Things Before the Last, ed. Paul Oskar Kristeller (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1995), 92.

98 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 85-86.

99 Sándor Ferenczi and Otto Rank, The Development of Psychoanalysis (New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2006), 62.

100 John Joseph McCole, Walter Benjamin and the Antinomies of Tradition (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 215.

101 Mary Bergstein, Mirrors of Memory: Freud, Photography, and the History of Art (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010), 86.

102 Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way (New York: Random House, Inc., 1993), 157.

103 Walter Benjamin, quoted in Alberto Martin, “Face—Body—Identity,” in On the Human Being: International Photography, 1950-2000, ed. Ute Eskildsen (London: Turner, 2008), 16.

104 Kracauer, History, 83.

105 John Roberts, The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography, and the Everyday (Manchester University Press, 1998), 106.

106 Edward Weston, quoted in Gretchen Garner, Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 92.

107 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 89. 90, 89.

108 Ibid., 88-89.

109 Lisa Hostetler, ed., Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography, 1940-1959 (London: Prestel Verlag, 2010), 77.

110 Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past: Swann’s Way. Within a Budding Grove (New York: Vintage Books, 1982), 485.

111 Richard Shiff, “Digitized Analogies,” in Mapping Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Digital Age, ed. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and Michael Marrinan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 63.

112 Ibid., 64.

113 Proust, Remembrance of Things Past: Swann’s Way. Within a Budding Grove, 485, 481.

114 Shiff, “Digitized Analogies,” 65.

115 Damian Sutton, Photography, Cinema, Memory: the Crystal Image of time (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 87.

116 Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text (New York: Macmillan, 1978), 44.

117 Francette Pacteau, The Symptom of Beauty (Reaktion Books, 1994), 163.

118 Charles Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil and Other Works, ed. Wallace Fowlie (Mineola, NY: Dover, 1992), 169.

119 Ray, How a Film Theory Got Lost, 21.

120 Barthes, Camera Lucida.

121 Barthes, Image, Music, Text, 19, 30.

122 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 125.

123 Ibid., 138, 8.

124 David Campany, “Posing, Acting, Photography,” in Stillness and Time: Photography and the Moving Image, ed. David Green and Joanna Lowry (Brighton, UK: Photoworks/Photoforum, 2006).

125 Mary Ann Doane, The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency, the Archive (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 166-167.

126 Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), 21.

127 Ibid., 109.

128 David Norman Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 56.

129 Cavell, The World Viewed, 19.

130 Ibid., 119.