Jean Baudrillard
[Writer and theorist, b. 1929, Reims, France, d. 2007, Paris.]

 Images have become our true sex objects. It is this promiscuity and the ubiquity of images, this viral contamination of images which are the fatal characteristics of our culture. 
 Every photographed object is merely the trace left behind by the disappearance of all the rest. It is an almost perfect crime, an almost total resolution of the world, which merely leave the illusion of a particular object shining forth, the image of which then becomes an impenetrable enigma. 
 ... the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials—worse: by their artificial resurrection in systems of signs, a more ductile material than meaning... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even of parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself. 
 For the heavenly fire no longer strikes depraved cities, it is rather the lens which cuts through ordinary reality like a laser, putting it to death. 
 When calculation and digital win out over form, when software wins out over the eye, can we still speak of photography? 
 Photography is our exorcism. Primitive society had its masks, bourgeois society its mirrors. We have our images. 
 You think you photograph a particular scene for the pleasure it gives. In fact it’s the scene that wants to be photographed. You’re merely an extra in the production. 
 Whatever the noise and violence around them, photographs return objects to a state of stillness and silence. In the midst of urban hustle and bustle, they recreate the equivalent of the desert, a phenomenal isolation. They are the only ways of passing through cities in silence, of moving through the world in silence. 
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