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Barthes, Roland (Translated by Richard Howard) . CAMERA LUCIDA: REFLECTIONS ON PHOTOGRAPHY. New York City, NY: Hill And Wang, 1981. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 119 pages. Fine/Fine.

Book-length account on subject. One of the greatest books of the 20th century. The third book in the final and greatest work by Roland Barthes, the trilogy that he began with "A Lover's Discourse: Fragments" (1977), continued with "Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes" (1977), and concluded with this book. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now rare. An austerely elegant production by Hill And Wang: Regular-sized volume format. Hard boards with gilt titles on cover and spine, as issued. Text by Roland Barthes. Photographs by Richard Avedon, Daniel Boudinet, Lewis Hine, Andre Kertesz, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nadar, and James Van Der Zee. Printed on archival stock paper in the United States to the highest standards. In pictorial DJ with titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Presents Roland Barthes' "Camera Lucida". His profoundly personal appreciation of photography. Using individual photographs (reproduced in the book) to comment on photography as a whole, Barthes writes about his subject with genius and love. "Love" is central to Barthes' point about the difference between a photograph's "studium" (what we, through convention and exposure, immediately recognize, understand, and like about photographs) and "punctum" (what sets a particular photograph apart, its visual punctuation or detail, its "disturbance" and "wound", which we do not immediately recognize, but through intuition, personal history, and feeling, eventually see and thereby come to love about the photograph). For Barthes, the "punctum" is what makes photography beautiful and radically different from "art" (painting), "visual effects" (the movies), and "narrative" (literature). There are a handful of books on photography that will endure. There are only two that are great: Susan Sontag's "On Photography" (1977) and Roland Barthes' "Camera Lucida". They were written around the same time (by two writers who were close friends) and aptly enough, complement each other: If Sontag's book is finally, an ethics of photography, then Barthes' book is an aesthetics of photography, of the most unusual kind: Anti-systematic, anti-theoretical, and almost purely intuitive and subjective. Barthes takes many things for granted about photography even though it is not wrong for readers (and professional photographers) to ask, what exactly is the "studium", that is, what makes photographs readily intelligible. For that one needs to go back to Sontag's book, which describes it in acute detail. An absolute "must-have" title for Roland Barthes collectors. This title is a great book. This is one of very few copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. Please note: ALL other copies available online are subsequent printings ("New") yet command hundreds of dollars. A rare copy thus. 24 plates. The greatest European culture critic of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER ROLAND BARTHES TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0809033402. $150.00

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