Charles Baudelaire
[Writer, b. 1821, Paris, d. 1867, Paris.]

 All the visible universe is nothing but a shop of images and signs. 
 Our squalid society rushed, Narcissus to a man, to gaze on its trivial image on a scrap of metal. 
 This industry [photography], by invading the territories of art, has become art’s most mortal enemy. 
 If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the multitude which is its natural ally. 
 A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound? (1859) 
 ... a thousand hungry eyes are bending over the peepholes of the stereoscope as though they were the attic windows of the infinite. The love of pornography, which is no less deep-rooted in the natural heart of man than the love of himself, was not to let slip so fine an opportunity of satisfaction [as photography]. And do not imagine that it was only children on their way back from school who took pleasure in these follies; everyone was infatuated with them. (1859) 
 ... the photographic industry was the refuge of every would-be painter, every painter too ill-endowed or too last to complete his studies, this universal infatuation bore not only the mark of a blindness, an imbecility, but also had the air of a vengeance. I do not believe, or at least I do not wish to believe, in the absolute success of such a brutish conspiracy, in which, as in all others, one finds both fools and knaves; bit I am convinced that the ill-applied developments of photography, like all other purely material developments of progress, have contributed much to the impoverishment of French artistic genius, which is already so scarce. (1859) 
 I would very much like to have a photograph of you... [but] I must be there. You know nothing about them, and all photographers, even the best, have ridiculous mannerisms. They think it is a good photograph if warts, wrinkles, and every defect and triviality of the face are made visible and exaggerated; and the HARDER the image is, the more they are pleased. (1865, To his mother) 
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