Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
[Writer, b. 1885, Rungsted, Denmark, d. 1962, Rungsted, Denmark.]
I do not see eye to eye with the camera.
The real difference between God and human beings is that God cannot stand continence. No sooner has he created a season of a year, or a time of day, than he wishes for something quite different and sweeps it all away. And human beings cleave to the existing state of things. All their lives they are striving to hold the moment fast, and are up against a force majeure. Their art itself is nothing but the attempt to catch by all means the one particular moment, one mood, one light, the momentary beauty of one woman or one flower, and make it everlasting.
Your own self, your personality and existence are reflected within the mind of each of the people whom you meet, ... into a likeness, a caricature of yourself, which still lives on and appears to be, in some way, the truth about you. Even a flattering picture is... a lie.
Here and there, in some older houses, old faded daguerreotypes still hang on the walls... They seem to us to be very simple... compared with the artistic and skillful portraits made in later days... Here was a photograph that at one time had been “the last word,” a very modern portrait... Today it is just a part of cultural history. The small yellowed surface has acquired depth, an admonishing perspective. We hold in our hand a symbol of the structure and ideology of an epoch.