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

 The vast maw of modernity has chewed up reality and spat the whole mess out as images. 
 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? 
 The Western memory museum is now mostly a visual one. 
 Today everything exists to end in a photograph. 
 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. 
 To collect photography is to collect the world. 
 Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: This is what human beings are capable of doing—may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self-righteously. Don’t forget. 
 Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are. 
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