I have just finished reading this book ‘Camera Lucida’ by Roland Barthes. I found this book a lot easier to read than ‘Mythologies’ but didn’t find it very interesting or useful in terms of ideas or methods of thought. To be honest, I personally would categorize this book along with the wardrobe of the Emperors new clothes. All about nothing, intellectually trendy twaddle or how to fill a book about absolutely nothing. Not a book that I would recommend.
The one thing that I got but didn’t fully realize until now is his idea of studium and punctum that I first understood but then half forgot it after reading on and it then got buried under all the theory that he lays on top of it. I spent so much time trying to decipher what he was saying I lost the thread. Fortunately, a fellow student had just posted a link to a good video explaining this theory from Barthes book which has brought the idea back from the depths of my confusion. https://phlearn.com/punctum-better-image
Maybe I am just an ignorant retch in the eyes of a true academic but why oh why say so much with so much unnecessary thesaurus fuelled language when it could be much more easily explained and summed up? I found I needed a dictionary for practically every paragraph of this book for words I have never seen before and it even defeated by Oxford dictionary from time to time! Maybe I needed Latin, Ancient Greek and French.
I have just read this book ‘Mythologies’ by Roland Barthes, although it was not listed on my OCA book list for Context and Narrative, I am so glad I have read it. I found it difficult to read, as I have to admit I struggled to understand the academic language even with a dictionary. However, I think that I had understood the gist and Barthes ideas of mythology in combination with Semiology is giving me food for thought for subject matter for my next assignment. The first section is a collection of essays about various subject matter that Barthes came across in day to day life that can be associated to modern day myths for example: The world of wrestling, Soap-Powder and Detergents Steak and Chips. But it is the last section, titled Myths Today which is the gold-nugget of information to be read and if necessary re-read until understood. Hard work to read; but a must for all art students.