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

 Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are. 
 To collect photography is to collect the world. 
 Strictly speaking, it is doubtful that a photograph can help us understand anything. 
 No sophisticated sense of what photography is or can be will ever weaken the satisfactions of a picture of an unexpected event seized in mid-action by an alert photographer. 
 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. 
 Though photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, free-standing particles; and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery. 
 To remember is, more and more, not to recall a story but to be able to call up a picture. 
 All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. 
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