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Fucking Brilliant | by Computer Science Geek
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Fucking Brilliant

It is quite possible that this notion, or at least the sentiment behind the idea, and the metaphor that shape both, were first awakened in Barthes by the Paris showing of The Family of Man, the exhibition of documentary photographs organized by the Museum of Modern Art in 1955. The leaflet introducing the show to the French public intoned: “This look over the human condition must somewhat resemble the benevolent gaze of God on our absurd and sublime ant-hill”; and this inspired one of the most bracingly iconoclastic of Barthes's “mythologies.”


Barthes and Cumming share the same enmity: they despise the blind idealism inherent to the documentary tradition, the blinkered smugness which presumes to “sum up” some aspect of the human condition and having done that, with a single click, implicitly assures the viewer that something has now been accomplished, simply by attention having been paid. This is the shameless complicity on which the “humanistic” spirit of documentary is based: the photographer and the viewer align themselves with whatever ideological power rules by holding out “hope.”

— Georges Bogarde, In Camera: The Photography of Donigan Cumming

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Taken on August 8, 2012