Will Harrison at The Hudson Review:
There’s a passage in Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes in which the French theorist, eyeing his own author photo (turned head, silvered temples, faintly illuminated desk) exclaims: “But I never looked like that!” And yet, how can one know? You are, indeed, “the only one who can never see yourself except as an image” whether that be in the form of a reflection or a photograph. Moreover, one can argue that the author photo is a particularly deceptive sort of image, one that is meant to elicit disparate or even contradictory feelings in the viewer.
Such was the case with Hervé Guibert, the famously beautiful French author who died of AIDS in 1991, and who—prior to a falling out—sustained an epistolary friendship with Barthes. One cannot find a single piece of criticism on Guibert that fails to mention his comeliness, which is fitting of a man who also worked as a photographer, making images that were as physically charged as his novels and memoirs.