Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Sign and Images" by Roland Barthes (Seagull Books)

ISBN 978-0857422415 Seagull Books
"Signs and Images" by Roland Barthes Translated by Chris Turner (Seagull Books)

Seagull Books (out of India) has been putting out these bite-size hardcover editions of Roland Barthes's writings.  What I have read so far, all wonderful.  This new one, "Signs and Images," is very well-titled.  A collection of essays, introductions, and brief writings on the image and what it represents to the world.  Here we get commentary on art, the cinema, and how a country like Japan deals with the issue of 'image, ' and how that reads to their citizens as well as to the western world (or at least in France).  Barthes is one of the very few foreign writers (Donald Richie is the other) who understands Japanese culture.  For him, it is almost a science with respect to researching the representation of images and how that translates into a form of reality, or at the very least, an interpretation of something - whatever it's in the cinema, an artwork, or a whole culture like Japan.   Reading Barthes work is wonderful, because it is thought-in-action. It's not the conclusion, but the journey that is important.  

-Tosh Berman

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