LOOKING AT FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS: READING CAMERA LUCIDA WITH MERLEAU-PONTY


DEPELİ SEVİNÇ G.

ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI ILETISIM FAKULTESI DERGISI, no.48, pp.25-38, 2015 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 48
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.17064/iuifhd.38126
  • Title of Journal : ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI ILETISIM FAKULTESI DERGISI
  • Page Numbers: pp.25-38

Abstract

Camera Lucida, written by the acclaimed essayist Roland Barthes in homage to Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the most frequently cited books in visual studies. The melancholia and literary flavour of the book, which pursues for a history of 'Looking', is influenced strongly by Barthes' mourning and grief of his mother, which he was unable to pass for many years, until his death in 1980. It is stated that the scope and definition of 'punctum' for Barthes, which relates photography strongly to temporality, death and loss, is rooted in Sartre's view of the negative phenomenology of looking, in which the activity of looking and being looked at carries the burden of loss and lacking. This article, asserting that Barthes' insights on photography correlates at many points with M. Merleau-Ponty rather than J. P. Sartre, departs from the experimental idea to reread Camera Lucida in guidance of the optimistic viewpoint on looking of M. Merleau-Ponty rather than J. P. Sartre. Besides enriching the discussions on photography, searching for a possible relation between Barthes and Merleau-Ponty could be considered also as an endeavour to mitigate Barthes's grief, and in this way enable a transition between family photographs and social memory.