Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 Photographs state the innocence, the vulnerability of lives heading toward their own destruction, and this link between photography and death haunts all photographs of people. 
 Photography is a kind of overstatement, a heroic copulation with the material world. 
 Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. 
 When one has a picture taken, the photographer says “Perfect!” Just as you are! That is death. 
 To collect photography is to collect the world. 
 A photograph is supposed not to evoke but to show. That is why photographs, unlike handmade images, can count as evidence. But evidence of what? 
 A photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask. 
 The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own. 
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