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BY APPOINTMENT ONLY akiyoshi taniguchi

9. The punctum - Shoji Ueda “A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me)”. Roland Barthes wrote this in 1980 in his last essay, Camera Lucida, in which a series of reflections on the nature, the rules and the exponents of this medium merge with the distress caused by his mother’s death. This comparison highlights the intimate and diary-like perspective that informs Barthes’ treatise, which examines his own individual relationship with photographs and photography, as well as his relationship with his beloved mother, without desiring or seeking intercessions. He hastens to exclude the photographer (the Operator) himself from the question of the punctum. “Certain details may ‘prick’ me. If they do not, it is doubtless because the photographer has put them there intentionally”. We do not know if Shoji Ueda in some way orchestrated the emergence of a flash of light from behind the dark foliage of an enormous tree in his photograph. In any case when we see it there is no doubt that that point of light, exploding into the shape of star, pierces us. Untitled, 1970s, gelatin silver print, 21.5 x 14 cm.


Fantom Photographic Quarterly · Issue 01  
Fantom Photographic Quarterly · Issue 01  

Fantom Photographic Quarterly, Issue 01, Autumn 2009