"Barthes, perhaps thinking of the 'end of history', discusses the photograph [in Camera Lucida
] as implying a flatness and completeness of representation, leaving the possibility that there is nothing else to say, which leaves open the question whether there is any future, any room left for anything new to appear: has saturation-point been reached? This is also Baudrillard's ground. But the photograph, which Barthes as a 'realist' — rather than as decoding those forms of realism which give the effect of the real — calls 'an image without code', is a record of death. It is a thanatography. Not just that it seems to strike the person imaged dead, in fixing them in a moment that will for ever seem unlike them, but in that, as Barthes says, it is 'not a "copy" of reality, but ... an emanation of past reality
' — which makes that reality posthumous, a form of living on in the photograph. Photography disallows an evasion of the past, showing that reality cannot be constituted as an absolute, outside time, what is real belongs to a particular historical formation. Barthes makes the point that the century that invented history invented photography. Inventing history is an activity of modernity; the buildings and city-forms which were torn down by nineteenth-century bourgeois capitalists in the present are revived in simulacral form, as well as those newer industrial forms themselves in the century of the invention of tradition. Photography shows the present supplementing its reality by doubling it, and so keeping a perpetual present, comprising the present and something else as well, a posthumous present, enshrined in the photograph. The photograph then haunts the present with the thought of its posthumous being, as a record of a past."
— Jeremy Tambling, Becoming Posthumous
(p. 14 in ISBN 0-7486-1477-X)