Jikaia’s Punctum

So, I’m not going to be deterred from frothing and posting about LRP photography, even if a few wayward comments got thrown my way. Especially about Odyssey, because I really fucking love Odyssey.

I want to write about this shot, the one that’s above. I know I put it in a blog post yesterday, but I don’t care, I’m putting it in another one.

Roland Barthes (my hero) wrote about a photograph having a punctum in his book Camera Lucida (which is not really much about photography and more about death). From memory (the book is like, six feet away at the end of my bed) he describes this as being like a pinprick on your skin. Something that heightens your awareness perhaps. The part of the shot that makes the shot work.

In fact I believe he says somewhere (I could be wrong) that the punctum is the bit that you still see when you close your eyes.

He discusses about how a photograph can have an emotional prickle, acting on the body as well as the mind. It is a ‘wounding’. A detail that directly touches a person. It produces a lasting effect on the viewer. Something that they remember.

In my opinion, good photographs always have a punctum. Yeah, I’m Barthes-old-school. And the punctum in a photograph can be a deeply personal thing. So I’m going to explain to you what I feel is the punctum of this photograph.



It’s the leather thonging on Jikaia’s bracer. The tie that’s flicking out in synchronicity with her hand. The indicator that she’s not moving towards the body, but rather she’s being pulled away.

Her braids also tells the story, although they are not picked out against a lush green background. The leather thonging on the other hand is gracefully picked out alone.

Other parts of the shot may help tell the story, but this is the part that matters. It’s the bit that gives you a true indication of what’s gone on. It is the bit I see when I close my eyes and it is the punctum of this image.

  • Jikaia (Steff)

    Kol, the priest in the picture pulling me back explained to me afterwards, that quite alot of folks who try to keep hold of me in dramatic moments like this at Larp probably think, ah its just Steff she’s pretty small and isn’t actually that strong. Unfortunately that is until I play Jikaia. I was full on screaming for my dieing/wounded friend, I just proper threw my whole body into it and if he hadn’t properly gotten hold of me, id have been off…

    Loved every moment of this (in a terrible yet epic way), so very glad to have seen such a good photo of it. Keeps quite an intense moment forever. Nice one.