Benjamin, Barthes and the singularity of photography

Aine Larkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewpeer-review


This is a landmark book, the first devoted solely to comparative analysis of the work of Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes on photography. Through meticulous research, Yacavone underlines the importance of the encounter between individual viewer and photograph. She shows how Benjamin’s and Barthes’s responses to particular photographic portraits of children—Kafka at six years of age for Benjamin, and Barthes’s mother as a small child in the Winter Garden photograph—are concerned with the centrality of the relation of the viewing self to the sitter, and with the ethical phenomena involved in the viewer’s response to a singular photographic image as regards the redemption of the unique represented other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-134
Number of pages2
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


  • Walter Benjamin
  • Roland Barthes
  • Photography


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