There are similarities between how Barthes (1981) describes the Photograph and the process of observing it, and looking at certain items of clothing or outfits. Much like a photograph refers to a moment frozen in time; something that once was there, worn clothing refers to a body that once inhabited it, or still regularly does. Worn clothing speaks: ‘There has been a body here’.
Worn clothing refers to a living body; flesh and bone, feelings, memories, identity. The more it has been worn the deeper the connection will be.
When looking at images of Frida Kahlo’s dresses in Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida’s Wardrobe (2007) – after recently finishing Camera Lucida (1981) – I cannot avoid thinking about the clothing in relation to the body that the items once adorned. The outfits subtly hint that also my clothes are in the process of becoming empty; devoid of me. Like the photograph, clothing becomes a referent to the passing of time.
Barthes, R. (1981) Camera Lucida. London: Vintage Rosenzweig D. and Rosenzweig, M. (ed.) (2008) Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida's wardrobe. San Fransisco: Chronicle Books LLC