ill. colori 57
In the old time myths were represented trough the mask in order to indicate and explain the existence of a separate world with his specific nature and its own aesthetic.
At that time humanity was adopting the mask to produce phenomenon whose mission was to clarify the communication between man and Gods: man was able to produce and invent masks that were art medium, in other words man had the capacity to produce things, shapes figures that were not existing in nature but at the same time had the ability to investigate the invisible, the untouchable, provoking a shifted vision from the every day ordinary ones trough the reflex of natural things.
In such condition thanks to this implicit duality, any language and any art instrument could have mask function.
Mask is not a disguise Roland Barthes says; he attributes to the mask the same value and function of old ages. At that time mask was inspiring awe and kept in a sanctified place. Its supernatural essence had to do with its intimate truth: the “character”, the “daimon”, just like in the photo of William Casby by Avedon, where the face of the black man becames the purest emblem of slavery.
In the early greek world, Dyonisus was the lord of the mask, of paradox; the god with two faces. The mad god finds in the duality of the mask the primal phenomenon of god’s duality, the incarnate presence of the invisible and the transcendental.
The invisible can take shape in the mask that is representing it; it can be captured in what Roland Barthes calls the, “punctun”: a kind of very small areas that grasp the emotional attention of the viewer.
Barthes sees these small areas as the places where emotional resonance lie. For very misteriousus unknown reasons and unintended by the photographer, according to Barthes, these small areas strike a cord in the viewer and these unintentional hooks make the difference between a good photograph and a well-crafted image.
In contrast, “studium” is more open not hidden, belongs to the fied of the taste his main concerni s to be liked to be accepted.
Barthes argues that technical skill is entirely irrelevant to the photographic process; in his opinion there are just few good portraist able to convey the mask, able to give us the opportunity for an emotional as well a political experience.
He underlines that people tend too much to absorb only fron an aesthetical point of view; the focus tends to go too much to the form than to the essence and goes even further when he says that it is the amateur not the professional, who is closer to the spirit of photography because more emotional and less worried by tecnhical concerns.
The mask had the pourpose to contact the spirit as well a good phographer is able to do, for Roland Barthes the essence of the “punctum” that elemet that is able to catche your attention is something higly energetic, alive, vibrant; in his opinion many are able of high level of tecniques but only few are able to transmit the life, the inner truth and ultimately to take the mask away.