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

 How does meaning get into the image? Where does it end? And if it ends, what is there beyond? 
 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. 
 Formerly, the image illustrated the text (made it clearer); today, the text loads the image, burdening it with a culture, a moral, an imagination. 
 Not only is the Photograph never, in essence, a memory... but it actually blocks memory, quickly becomes a counter-memory. 
 The photographer, like an acrobat, must defy the laws of probability or even of possibility; at the limit, he must defy those of the interesting: the photograph becomes surprising when we do not know why it has been taken. 
 Ultimately—or at the limit—in order to see a photograph well, it is best to look away or close your eyes. 
 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... 
 When we look at a photograph of ourselves or of others, we are really looking at the return of the dead. 
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