A man can have only two strokes of good luck in this world. That of loving greatly or that of combating victoriously in the battle for life. He is happy either way, but it is not often that fate grants both of these happinesses. It seems to me therefore that … the happy are those who either renounce love or withdraw from the battle. Most unhappy are those who divide themselves according to desire or activity between these two fields, so opposed. Strange: thinking of my Livia I see both love and victory.

Ettore Schmitz, also known as Italo Svevo, from his diary dated 3 January 1895


It seems that in Latin “photograph” would be said “imago lucis opera expressa”; which is to say: image revealed, “extracted,” “mounted,” “expressed” (like the juice of a lemon) by the action of light. And if Photography belonged to a world with some residual sensitivity to myth, we should exult over the richness of the symbol: the loved body is immortalized by the mediation of a precious metal, silver (monument and luxury); to which we might add the notion that this metal, like all metals of Alchemy, is alive.

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida


In the Photograph, Time’s immobilization assumes only an excessive, monstrous mode: Time is engorged.

Roland BarthesCamera Lucida


There was an evening the image of you and your interestingly arched feet and the curve of your nose swathed in my eye and my skin suddenly remembered the way you touched me, that first night my lips touched yours. The night heavy with humidity from the rain and the air cool when the breeze combed through my hair… I slowed my pace (hearing traces of distant sounds) and I stood at the tree, which no longer had my back against it. I could smell the wet grass. Quiet sort of love it was (if), between us — though the love shook my bones and rattled my head. I moved my body away to pick the dead flowers that nested deeply in my skin, inserting my fingers through dirt to pull out the roots, all so I can grow fresh ones (and I love running my fingers over the yellow buds that cover my skin now) — And I sat in the sun today with tea in the mason jar you left behind and which I never recycled and thought of you and the short time we existed desiring the other with a combination of heaviness and lightness lurking in my head and chest.


It is marvelous to feel the same kind of beauty with writing as that to Photography. It is a bizarre sensation, close to the stirring of love. Some of my favorite images to look at (visual delights), the ones I can look at over and over again (because of what the photograph carries) swoon me; reading expressions of the written word, texts that I can read over and over again, feeling that stirring of love, swoon me to the point of intoxication: an elevation given solely by looking.