Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reprise #6: A Place Between Certainty And Oblivion

Fig. 1. Robert Morris - Bodyspacemotionthings, 1971

'The Photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been. This distinction is decisive. In front of a photograph, our consciousness does not necessarily take the nostalgic path of memory (how many photographs are outside of individual time), but for every photograph existing in the world, the path of certainty: the Photograph's essence is to ratify what it presents. One day I received from a photographer a picture of myself which I could not remember being taken, for all my efforts; I inspected the tie, the sweater, to discover in what circumstances I had worn them; to no avail. And yet, because it was a photograph I could not deny that I had been there (even if I did not know where). This distinction between certainty and oblivion gave me a kind of vertigo, something of a detective "anguish" (the theme of Blow-Up was not far off); I went on to the photographer's show as to a police investigation, to learn at last what I no longer knew about myself.'

Roland Barthes