The Sound of Photography, The Noise of Time

click! roland barthes on how the “noise of time is not sad.”

Roland Barthes on the special sonic experience of photography in its pre-digital days.

Hence, strangely, the only thing that I tolerate, that I like, that is familiar to me, when I am photographed, is the sound of the camera. For me, the Photographer’s organ is not his eye (which terrifies me) but his finger: what is linked to the trigger of the lens, to the metallic shifting of the plates (when the camera still has such things). I love these mechanical sounds in an almost voluptuous way, as if, in the Photograph, they were the very thing—and the only thing—to which my desire clings, their abrupt click breaking through the mortiferous layer of the Pose. For me the noise of Time is not sad: I love bells, clocks, watches—and I recall that at first photographic implements were related to techniques of cabinetmaking and the machinery of precision: cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing, and perhaps in me someone very old still hears in the photographic mechanism the living sound of the wood.”

— Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida

Which made me wonder: what are the sounds of digital photography? Are computers too “clocks for seeing,” glimpsed best by the noises they emit when we use them?

Roland Barthes.

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