Author: Р. Horizons

“He who conquers death himself becomes it”

(Black George)

These notes are the result of several experiences (I give them in order of increasing importance to me):

1. Recently re-read a wonderful book about photography “CameraLucida” by the famous French explorer Roland Barthes;

  1. My discussion with Evgeniy Fullerovabout the search for the meaning of world history process;
  2. Articles published on the ATS website:“Lesson courage” and “Beginning master” and comments on them.

I would like to express my great regret at the impossibility of visiting (due to the well-known specificity of my life situation) the exhibition of artistic photography by Elena Almazova, which caused a lively discussion. I would also like to address Elena with words of support that are relevant for you, Elena, at the moment. It so happened that I myself did not take part in the discussion about your work, but without it (I mean the comments to the article) this essay would not have been written.

In it, by expanding the stated abstracts, some characteristics of photography and the historical process are considered in their similarity and difference.

  1. The photography is peculiarly layered, the story is hysterical.

Roland Barthes writes that “photography belongs to the class of layered objects, the two halves of which cannot be detached from each other without destroying the whole: such are window glass and landscape but also… Good and Evil, desire and its object.” And elsewhere: “History is hysterical; it is constituted on the condition that it is looked at – and in order to look at it, one must be excluded from it. As a living soul, I am the embodiment of the opposite of history.

In other words, the Human Observer, in order to comprehend photography, must dissolve into it, unable to separate signified from signifier, image from (as Barthes writes) referent. A direct consequence of this, in my opinion, is the diversity of visions, and, as a result, the fierceness of disputes among viewers of photographic art exhibitions and the more individual approach to the choice of image objects the author demonstrates (up to the declarative nature of this approach, that viewers who protect their peace of mind tend to called “aggression”), the greater the diversity of opinions and the intransigence of positions it causes. In other words, each viewer is immersed in the photographic image and builds their relationship with the object of the image in their own way. Not being able to change anything in the image, to “make money” for themselves, the viewers either accept the world of the image proposed by the author, i.e. the reality seen and declared by the photographer, and “open” their consciousness, enriching themselves with this new reality, or they do not accept and push this reality away from themselves.

Attempt to comprehend the Other is a catastrophic process for that cozy everyday projection of the world that reproduces itself in our minds daily, hourly and every minute. Therefore, those who repel the world of the Other, especially given in the image, are forced to flounder in order not to drown in this image, they are forced to compensate for the impossibility for themselves to freely swim in the new world for them with streams of words and their “clots” – various kinds of psychological theories and the like, with which they are trying to expose this world. Behind all these verbal outpourings is the cry of “Help!” sinking consciousness, his panicked desire to overcome Death as a transition to the World of the Other and survive in the familiar everyday world. “Those who betray themselves are inexorable,” writes the contemporary poet Black George. The selectivity of the photographer (“the artistry of photography”) is an awareness of the limitations of one’s pictorial (human) capabilities and an attempt to choose the only right angle or the only right pose.

History is the opposite of photography. The story is hysterical,” writes Barthes. The essence of hysteria is in the demonstrative emotional states of a woman, which manifest themselves when they look at her, they are watching her. Those. the observer (subject) is completely opposed and excluded from the object. (when subject and object are merged, for example in an act of love, hysteria is never observed in the object).

History is dead and this is different from hysterics. But a living person is also excluded from history and opposed to it in the same way, i.e. opposed to what is excluded. But the similarity is not only in this. Calling history hysterical, Bart obviously means that this exclusion from history provokes the Observer to attribute various emotional states to it – and if not tears, laughter, screams, convulsions, hysterical paralysis, then heroism and barbarism, “troubled periods” and “glorious past”, etc. I would nevertheless object to R. Barth, noting that if in the case of hysteria we observe the “pure” state of the object, then in the case of history, the observer attributes his own perception to bygone events and epochs, imposing his own emotions on history. Alas, these emotions of the living cannot resurrect history. And we cannot cure the history of what we do not like in it with water or manual massage of the female organs, as traditionally treated hysterics …

  1. Photo World – Labyrinth. The world of history is the Law.

“The collection of photographs in the world makes up a maze,” writes Roland Barthes.

For each person there is a Photo, which is for him the Main Image and, accordingly, a guiding thread leading out of the labyrinth. Barthes was sure that in the center of the Labyrinth he would find “nothing but this single shot, making Nietzsche’s prophecy come true, ‘The man from the labyrinth seeks not the truth, but only his Ariadne’.” (The double-quoted phrase just written is a metaphor for the Photograph placed in the Labyrinth of Photographs and the role of the Essential Image in this phrase belongs to a quote from Nietzsche).

The law of history is self-negation and self-overcoming, a person dies by reproducing himself in another (biologically / or in language, but humanly – precisely in language ). Death and the realization of its inevitability by man is the victory of consciousness over biology.

“The lightness and insignificance of words… make up the very space of love, its music,” notes Bart. In other words, looking at the Master Photo, whether it is a picture of a mother, a loved one, or a child, finding a way out of the labyrinth of endless images, one does not speak “truths”. These “truths” or what claims to them “extinguish” the image, tear the thread.

There is an opinion (French researcher J.-J. Gou) that Judaism rejected the worship of images in order to protect itself from the dangers of the Mother cult, and that Christianity, by allowing the image of a woman-mother, overcame the severity of the Law in favor of the Imaginary.

Roland Barthes, for whom the photograph of his mother was the Main Image, admits that looking at the photo, he felt the mother so much that she was his inner Law – his child female.

It’s hard not to recall here a wonderful poem by the Russian poet Boris Ryzhy, in which Bart’s attitude and even his imagery found a talented poetic embodiment.


So I understood: you are my daughter, not my mother,

I just need to hug you tighter</p >

And look over the window,< /p>

Where a hundred years ago, where a long time ago</span >

I ran around the yard like a brat</p >

And secretly smoked in the wind,</ p>

Surrounded by punks, but always alone –< /p>

Your only, your favorite son.< /p>

I just need to hug you tighter</p >

And then don’t take your hands away</p >

Through fog and rain, through dreams and dreams.</ span>

You alone have no guilt.

And when you cried at night,< /p>

Me, hands on your shoulders in thought

Pressing, I finally understood</ p>

I get it: you are my daughter, not my mother.< /span>

And the time will come later, then—< /p>

Not in black and white, but in color</span >

A photo, not in a photo, but in reality

Same as a hug.</ p>

And the wrinkles around the eyes, around the mouth,</span >

You will be a child – oh forever! –

With a scarlet ribbon blowing in the wind.

When you are gone, when I die.

  1. Photography is not metaphorical, it is light reified. History operates with time, which, according to F.M. Dostoevsky “is the relation of being to non-being.”

The main property of a photograph is that the object depicted in it really was or is.

For me, a photograph collapses space and time into the size of a photograph. Here is a photograph taken of a slave (the photograph caught slavery as a state institution), and this man really was a slave. In this case, I do not need a “historian as an intermediary” – a fact from the past is established “without applying a method.”

Here is a photo of planet Earth taken by the C probe assini” from a distance of many billions of kilometers. Here is a Martian landscape taken by the rover “Curiosity“. I don’t need to roam Mars or fly to Saturn (whatever my employers think about it) to ascertain that reality exists. Thus, photography expands my reality by about two hundred earth years and several billion light years (if we mean photographs of distant stars), building new labyrinth worlds parallel to the present in time and limited in terms of geography to the world. These labyrinths of images are still different from the mythological Minoan, from where the thread of Ariadne led. In the labyrinths of images, we stop and stare for a long time at the face of a slave, or at dead Martian stones, which we have not yet set foot on and God knows when (I hope I will not be fired for these words) a human foot.

In terms of metaphor, cinema is fundamentally different from photography because, Barthes writes, “being fictional, it mixes two poses, ‘it was’ an actor with “it was” roles. Isn’t this the source of the incomparable aching feeling that we often experience when watching films with the participation of actors who have already died?

And at this point of our reflections, it’s not far from history, which includes an endless game of signifier and signifier: real historical persons and events are mixed, and more precisely, they establish their own textual relations with their versions-images on the theater stage, on the movie screen, in works of fine art, in historical novels and studies, despite the fact that all these paintings, theatrical performances, films, etc. – are also facts of history and also become objects of study, interpretations and interpretations, also building their own textual relations with them.

If time is indeed a “relation of being to non-being,” then other conclusions follow.

Let’s move to the area of ​​syntax and remember that relationships are composition relationships and subordination relationships. In this regard, it seems that the relationship of photography with time is a relationship of composition, where time and photographic image are equal partners. The relationship of time and history is a relationship of subordination and dictate. Hence the tendency of history to instructive and questionable morality. After all, any lesson is a relationship of power – suppression and dictate of the student. G. Berlioz noted that “time is the best teacher, but, unfortunately, it kills its students…”

The photo is more of a visual aid to learning history than the lesson itself. Capturing the destructive essence of time, photography opposed this with an independent Image of the Existing, entering into direct and immediate relations with time. It’s probably better this way: photography is much more resistant to destruction and distortion by time than many other fixations of historical events and floats on the waves of time, does not drown in them, creating its own parallel historical world and a myth-maze.

Photography is the capture of light rays (originally using silver halide compounds) emitted by differently lit objects. That is, we literally see the emanation of the body depicted on it.

I would like to end these notes with a quote from Roland Barthes, who directly connects photography with myth. He writes: “The photo of the disappeared creature will touch me in the same way as the rays of a star that are on their way. With my gaze, the body of the photographed thing is connected by a semblance of an umbilical cord. Light, although intangible, appears in this case as a bodily conductor, a skin that I share with the one or the one who is photographed … The beloved body is immortalized with the help of a valuable material, silver; this metal, like all metals in Alchemy, is alive.