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

 There is no such thing as a bad photograph—only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones. 
 The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own. 
 The Western memory museum is now mostly a visual one. 
 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. 
 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. 
 The disconcerting ease with which photographs can be taken, the inevitable even when inadvertent authority of the results, suggest a very tenuous relation to knowing. 
 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. 
 Strictly speaking, it is doubtful that a photograph can help us understand anything. 
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