Shadow Amidst An Abyss of Light

"Every photograph is this catastrophe," (Barthes, 96).

“I am a primitive, a child—or a maniac; I dismiss all knowledge, all culture, I refuse to inherit anything from another eye than my own.” –Barthes, Camera Lucida (51)

I want to forget this is a tunnel.  Can I erase from my mind that red dot is the lights on a car?  I refuse to look at this photograph within this moment opposed to back then when like a naïve “child” I photographed “neither image nor reality, a new being really: a reality [I] can no longer touch” (Barthes, 87).  When I close my eyes, I recall worlds of amber colliding to a particular red dot.  My punctum is the rectangular shadow framing that red dot.  I open them and see the distortion of bright white lights and lines adding chaos to the amber abyss. The rectangle pricks me.  Is it not just an illusion created by the light?

According to Barthes, the rectangle exists in that moment.  It is authentic and does not need to represent a shadow or the convergence of light.  For, “in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.” (Barthes, 89)  Closing my eyes, I do not plague myself with what the rectangle embodies.  It is my punctum and it exists for me.  It is my confirmation that this moment was real.  That rectangle presents a reality that overrides “what is no longer” and epitomizes “what has been” (Barthes, 85).  It exists for me.

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