[Writer, b. 1932, Shillington, Pennsylvania, d. 2009, Boston, Massachusetts.]
A photograph offers us a glimpse into the abyss of time.
A photograph presents itself not only as a visual representation, but as evidence, more convincing than a painting because of the unimpeachable mechanical means whereby it was made. We do not trust the artist’s flattering hand; but we do trust film, and shadows, and light.
Unlike the older, more humanly shaped arts, which begin with a seed and accumulate their form organically, photography clips its substance out of an actual continuum.
Photography is the first art wherein the tool does most of the work.
[W]e are drawn to photographs on museum walls, and to those in family albums as well. In just such a way (we think to ourselves), in sunlight indistinguishable from that of tomorrow afternoon, this woman, this child, this Indian chief posed; bodies now forever dissolved were in a certain instant bombarded by photons, were inarguably there.
The photograph see for us; it sees faster and sharper than the eye, more steadily and spaciously, but our world is what it sees. In this sense all photography is journalistic...