What follows is more of my (hopefully helpful) musings on Barthes' Camera Lucida. Read on.
Section 25: Barthes begins his personal search, at this point, for a "true" photograph of his mother. When he suggests that he was wanting to write what he calls a "little compilation," it is quite possible that this is to what the second half of the book amounts.
Section 26: History: "the time when my mother was alive before me." (65) Barthes shows such sensitivity here; he refers to his mother's scent and her personal things. By the way, the photo to which he refers, of his mother and himself on a beach (see section 25, and see below) is published in Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes.
Section 27: Barthes blames photography for forcing him to engage with "painful labour," that is, "straining toward the essence of her identity." (66)
Photographs are like dreams for Barthes: they are not the object, they are about the object. This is different from what he says earlier in the book in terms of a photograph "meaning" its referent, but he is now discussing his mother, not some universal characteristic of the medium (he returns, though, to the idea of the referent in section 32).
Section 28: The heart of the book is here in this section: the Winter Garden photograph. Just as a photograph never shows the true person due to the pose, so here is the true person because of her innocence (he says it means, "I do no harm"). (69) So, for Barthes, this is a "just image." (70)
Section 29: Barthes suggests here that the photograph of his mother as a little girl makes him recall her last days, as a "little girl," needing his assistance always.
From that tender idea, Barthes seems to teeter on the edge of despair: "I could do no more than await my total, undialectical death." (72)
Section 30: So, he here suggests that desire in photography is not rooted in pleasure but rather in love and death. I do wish that he would have reprinted the photograph here (as do my students), but he does not; after all, it's not for us.
Section 31: Barthes expresses a bit of his own background here, raised as protestant. But as for the rest (psychoanalysis discussion aside), he simply states that "everything has remained motionless." (75)
Section 32: Photography: "I can never deny that the thing has been there." Photography, for Barthes, is not art or communication, but Reference: "it has been here, and yet immediately separated; it has been absolutely, irrefutably present, and yet already deferred." (77)
That brings me to the end of this week's section. I have written less here, but this is truly the emotional heart of the work, and the importance of the beginning of the second part of the book remains.