An examination of the use of photography in Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes sheds light on how the photographic documentary is secured in life writing. I argue that photographs in life writing invite readers to look beyond what is imaged to their own private experiences rather than to some sort of universal reality. When photographs are reproduced in literature, the subjective and not the objective is paramount in determining their evidential value. In other words, the photograph's evidential value is secured through a transformative process that is put into play by an active engagement, a stepping into the visual, on the part of the reader.

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