[Philosopher and writer, b. 1863, Madrid, Spain, d. 1952, Rome, Italy.]
To complain of a photograph for being literal and merciless, is like complaining of a good memory that will not suffer you to forget your sins. (1912)
As students of zoology put on their slides infinitely fine and numerous sections of the specimens they study, so the photographer can furnish for the instruction of posterity infinitely fine and numerous cross-sections of the present world of men. (1912)
Photography at first was asked to do nothing but embalm our best smiles for the benefit of our friends and our best clothes for the amusement of posterity. Neither thing lasts, and photography came as a welcome salve to keep those precious, if slightly ridiculous, things a little longer in the world.
The eye only has one retina, the brain a limited capacity for storage; but the camera can receive any number of plates, and the new need never blur or crowd out the old. Here is a new and accurate visual memory, a perfect record of what the brain must necessarily forget or confuse. (1912)
The sophisticated concern about art sinks before a spontaneous love of reality, and I thank the photograph for being so transparent a vehicle for things...