Camera Lucida, written by French literary theorist Roland Barthes, is arguably one of the most influential books ever published on photography. Published by Hill & Wang in 1980, this short book is also a tribute to Barthes’ late mother, Henriette.
In it, Barthes discusses a treasured snapshot taken in 1898, known as the Winter Garden Photograph. It is an image of Henriette, aged five, not published in the book. Barthes describes it as follows:
With the Photograph, we enter into flat Death. The horror is this: nothing to say about the death of one whom I love most, nothing to say about her photograph, which I contemplate without ever being able to get to the heart of it, to transform it. The only “thought” I can have is that at the end of this first death, my own death is inscribed; between the two, nothing more than waiting…
The Winter Garden Photograph project will mark the 40th anniversary of Camera Lucida in 2020.
It comprises two parts. The first part involves publishing a book of new contemporary photographs and text. The second part involves curating exhibitions of the work. Many of the photographs are previously unpublished and/or have not been exhibited. There is also an opportunity for the prints to go into a formal collection.
Almost 200 the world’s best-known contemporary photographers, writers, critics, curators, and art historians have been invited to contribute a photograph and accompanying text that reflects on Barthes’ unpublished snapshot of his mother for the project.
The project is directed and curated by Australian/British artist Odette England.
 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 1982), 92-93.