Allan Sekula
[Photographer, writer, and theorist, b. 1951, Erie, Pennsylvania, d. 2013, Los Angeles.]

 The only “objective” truth that photographs offer is the assertion that somebody or something... was somewhere and took a picture. 
 Nothing could be more natural than... a man pulling a snapshot from his wallet and saying, “This is my dog.” 
 Photography promises an enhanced mastery of nature, but photography also threatens conflagration and anarchy. 
 Documentary is thought to be art when it transcends its reference to the world, when the work can be regarded, first and foremost, as an act of self-expression on the part of the artist. 
 The photograph is an “incomplete” utterance, a message that depends on some external matrix of conditions and presuppositions for its readability. 
 Documentary photography has amassed mountains of evidence. And yet... the genre has simultaneously contributed much to spectacle, to retinal excitation, to voyeurism, to terror, envy and nostalgia, and only a little to the critical understanding of the social world. 
 The making of a human likeness on film is a political act. 
 How does photography serve to legitimate and normalize existing power relationships? ... How is historical and social memory preserved, transformed, restricted and obliterated by photographs? 
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