Lexia turns Optika: Textual Analysis of Looking at Appalachia


This paper draws from Roland's Barthes method of extreme close reading as developed in his essay "Textual Analysis of a Tale by Edgar Allen Poe" and his book S/Z. Rather than performing this line-by-line deconstruction on another written text, this paper asks what might happen if we were to transpose Barthes' framework onto another medium: photography. The artifact that this paper uses as its object of study is the the crowdsourced photo-documentary project, Looking at Appalachia, which was founded by Roger May in 2014.