What Barthes Never Knew About Carl Zeiss


A Portrait

A Portrait, Copenhagen 2009 (c)

This portrait was never intended for this site, but I’ll bring it anyway.

Remember Roland Barthes and his connotation procedures in photopraphy? One of his procedures is trick effects, and that procedure is probably that which comes closest to my point here. The mere quality of the equipment is yet another parameter for handling connotations.

This shot has been made with a Carl Zeiss lens (Zeiss Planar 1,4/85 mm ZE), and, in my opinion, is has connotation qualities that goes far beyond what I have seen with other lenses. What these lenses are famous for, are the ability to render 3D like effects. I am amazed, particularly since this is the first portrait, ever, I have shot with this lens. This person comes to life way beyond my expectations. Because of the Zeiss glass in the lens.

What has this to do with connotations? Well, this equipment based qualities certainly contain connotations. Thinks like “strong personality”, “stern”, “in control of things”, “highly skilled”, “professional”, et cetera. You can add to the list yourself.

Barthes himself was not a photographer. He did not think he had the talent for it. He had to contribute to the art of photography by writing about it. That is probably why he never knew about Carl Zeiss and his glass.

And talking about quality: this picture is best viewed on a Mac. The bigger the better. And I am not joking.

And no, this is not a picture of Carl Zeiss.  Have a good day :-).


If you want to read more barebones’ posts related to Roland Barthes, you should hit “Roland Barthes” in the tag cloud.

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