Death of the author – Roland Barthes

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

After reading Death of the author, it reminded me of the works of Travis Shaffer, The quote from Roland Barthes’ Thus the author cannot claim any absolute authority over his or her text because, in some ways, he or she did not write it‘  Roland talks of an author not being able to fully own their text since they did not create the language or the format they simple used societies idea of text, and unless the author way to create something totally new ‘by refusing to assign a ‘secret,’ an ultimate meaning, to the text’  be it a secret language then text would prehaps be fully their own, but then what would the purpose be if only the author could understand it? This reminds me of Travis Shaffer’s work in the way he uses photos from other sources in which he didn’t create himself but puts into his own context for example the google maps images he used in his series of work called mega churches, these were not his own photographs but why the way he choose to crop the and present them in such a way the work of google now becomes the views work.

Roland Barthes also questions whether the reader can then become the author, if the reader chooses to change the text around or simply read the text in a different way does it then become different and have a new meaning ? ‘the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original‘ so for example someone could now take Travis Sheffer work and compose it in a different way and then they would become the author of the work. I find this starts to question copyright at what point if there is one can a viewer or reader not take something and make it into their own, there will always be a way of changing the same thing into different views and meanings and i think this is way so many people find the issue of copyright such a difficult thing, for example our magazine edits of other photographers works, we turned them into our own but did we breach copyright?

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