From Roland Barthes – Camera Lucida – Chapter 5
Very often (too often, for my taste) I have been photographed and knew about it. Now once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of “posing”, I instantaneously make another body for myself, I transform myself into an image. This transformation is an active one: I feel that the photographer creates my body or mortifies it, according to its caprice .
No doubt it is metaphorically that I derive my existence from the photographer. But though this dependence is an imaginary one (and from the purest image-repertoire), I experience it with the anguish of uncertain filiation: an image – my image – will be generated: will I be born from an antipathetic individual or from a “good sort”? If only I could come out of the paper as on a classical canvas, endowed with a noble expression – thoughtful, intelligent, etc.!
What I want, in short, is that my (mobile) image, buffeted among thousands of shifting photographs, altering with situation and age, should always coincide with my (profound) “self”; but it is the contrary that must be said: “myself” never coincides with my image; for it is the image which is heavy, motionless, stubborn...If only photography could give me a neutral, anatomic body, a body which signifies nothing! Alas, I am doomed by (well-meaning) photography to always have an expression: my body never finds its zero degree, no one can give it to me.
In front of the lens, I am at the same time:
· The one I think I am
· The one I want others to think I am
· The one the photographer thinks I am
· The one he makes use of to exhibit his art.
In other words, a strange action: I do not stop imitating myself, and because of this, each time I am (or let myself be) photographed I invariably suffer from a sensation of inauthenticity, sometimes of imposture (comparable to certain nightmares).