Why this image..? What does it say..? What does it mean..?
For Roland Barthes, in Camera Lucida the photograph can be the object of three practices.You, the spectator see two disembodied mannequins in a street somewhere. You have no context beyond what you see in front of you. I as the operator (photographer) chose this image both to display here, and in the first instance to take the photograph. And what of the referant? What is the vision contained within the image? What am I intending to portray? It is a “truth”, but what truth? What is taking place outside of the image and therefore have I omitted anything?
What about if I change the crop? Is there perhaps a story here? If you know that I took the photograph in a Kasbah in Tangier, does it suggest
an insinuated comment on the gulf between man,woman and religion in a different culture? Was it happenstance that I noticed the mannequins in the first instance, and was compelled to photograph a slightly surreal juxtaposition of people and things?
Or, to appropriate Barthes comments on Wessing’s photographs of the Nicaraguan revolution, “…they (bear) no mark or sign: their homogeneity remain(s) cultural: they (are) scenes…”.