What defines greatness? What element can change something from being mildly interesting to extraordinary? Details, emotion, back-story, and message can all add to the power of a photo, but these are all reasonable answers to define something unreasonable. Recognizing something powerful is instinctive, which makes it hard to define. Barthes gives some guidance to this process by separating the vaguely interesting from the piercingly wonderful. Through studium and punctum, images are separated into these categories, allowing the viewer to analyze images with acute precision. What makes this interesting? Why do I care? These questions are slowly answered by looking deeply into what interests you as a person and figuring out why.
English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition
Thul, Karen '15, "Studium and Punctum: The Duality of Photography" (2011). Outstanding Gateway Papers. 6.