Siegfried Kracauer
[Media critic and sociologist, b. 1889, Frankfurt, Germany, d. 1966, New York.]

 The question is whether the image decisively catches reality. (1930) 
 The photograph annihilates the person. 
 The flood of photos sweeps away the dams of memory. Never before has a period known so little about itself. In the hands of the ruling society, the invention of illustrated magazines is one of the most powerful means of organizing a strike against understanding… The ‘image-idea’ drives away the idea. 
 Never before has an age been so informed about itself, if being informed means having an image of objects that resembles them in a photographic sense. (1927) 
 The image wanders ghostlike through the present. Ghostly apparitions occur only in places where a terrible deed has been committed. 
 ...the world has become a photographable present, and the photographed present has been entirely eternalized. Seemingly ripped from the clutch of death, in reality it has succumbed to it. 
 A shudder runs through the viewer of old photographs. For they make visible not the knowledge of the original but the spatial configuration of a moment; what appears in the photograph is not the person but the sum of what can be subtracted from him or her.