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First, let us compare two ways girls see themselves: that is “in the mirror” and “on the photo”. A photo is also a mirror of a sort, where time and movement are frozen. Nevertheless, girls keep asking both the mirror and the photo the same question: who’s the fairest of them all? Fairness here stands for that inner light, which can be quite bright. The punctum concept which Roland Barthes described so insightfully in his work “Camera Lucida” suggests that photography unlike mirror is text by nature and it tells a story.


In fact, a photo is a story of a text, a story of its prenatal state, its origin, as well as the story of its never ending disappearances. To find and then to stress out the punctum Lewis Carroll dressed the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, into rags, meaning that a naked shoulder shines brighter through the holes of beggar’s rags than through the Victorian dress. Remember that fairy tale about a wise young woman, who was ordered to come to the king’s court neither clothed nor naked? So she comes to the palace wrapped in a fish net, showing her magic wisdom. Thus she wins the game of wits, finding perfect mediation between cloths and nudity, while at the same time she presents herself as a miraculous hunting target (being object of desire as well), won by the hunter-king.


The camera is that hunter-king; it wraps even the absolutely naked body with an invisible net — net of cognition.


We find this delicate net on the photos by Natalya Tazbash. We see it as a network of meridians and parallels, covering the bodies, that are planets, waiting to be charted!

Pavel Pepperstein

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