Two rather random thoughts



Diesel power.

Playing around with the Technikardan this morning, I was struck by the smell of the lubricant used on the metal parts. The camera is built like a tank, but also smells like it runs on diesel! Very evocative: a case of smell as well as form following function…



A recommendation.

One of my revelatory photography books is Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. Barthes was a very very important literary and cultural theorist of the 1960s and 1970s (who bizarrely died when run over by a laundry truck in Paris in 1980); his book on photography is full of fascinating insights and ideas. Here’s one such, on landscape photography, what he calls ‘landscapes of predilection’. This is a prescription for landscape photographs to be poetic and evocative, rather than otherworldly or simply descriptive. Wonderful.


‘For me, photographs of landscape (urban or country) must be habitable, not visitable. This longing to inhabit, if I observe it clearly in myself, is neither oneiric (I do not dream of some extravagant site) nor empirical (I do not intend to buy a house according to the views of a real-estate agency); it is fantasmatic, deriving from a kind of second sight which seems to bear me forward to a utopian time, or to carry me back to somewhere in myself: a double movement which Baudelaire celebrated in Invitation au voyage and La Vie antérieure. Looking at these landscapes of predilection…’ (pp. 38–40, italics original).

Available here from Amazon.


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