Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida is one of the most influential books on the philosophy of photography. It’s about how we look at and make meaning of photos, both as images and objects. On the surface, it reads like a short survey of major photographers from Daguerre and Nadar to Maplethorpe and Van Der Zee, but at its core, Camera Lucida is a book about mourning, written after his mother’s death as he looks through boxes of photos from her life. For an intellectual icon know for dense, theoretical prose, Camera Lucida stands apart as a brief, lyrical, and, at times, intimate examination of loss.
Camera Lucida -- Roland Barthes