Roland Barthes
[Writer, critic, and theorist, b. 1915, Cherbourg, d. 1980, Paris.]

 The photographic referent [is] not the optionally real thing to which an image or a sign refers but the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, without which there would be no photograph. 
 The Photograph is violent: not because it shows violent things, but because on each occasion it fills the sight by force, and because in it nothing can be refused or transformed. 
 I passed beyond the unreality of the thing represented, I entered crazily into the spectacle, into the image, taking into my arms what is dead, what is going to die... 
 How does meaning get into the image? Where does it end? And if it ends, what is there beyond? 
 Formerly, the image illustrated the text (made it clearer); today, the text loads the image, burdening it with a culture, a moral, an imagination. 
 A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see. 
 When we look at a photograph of ourselves or of others, we are really looking at the return of the dead. 
 Not only is the Photograph never, in essence, a memory... but it actually blocks memory, quickly becomes a counter-memory. 
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