John Berger
[Writer and critic, b. 1926, London, d. 2017, Paris.]

 If everything that existed were continually being photographed, every photograph would become meaningless. 
 What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time. 
 The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time. 
 ...photography has no language of its own. One learns to read photographs as one learns to read footprints or cardiograms. 
 A photograph is a meeting place where the interests of the photographer, the photographed, the viewer and those who are using the photograph are often contradictory. These contradictions both hide and increase the natural ambiguity of the photographic image. 
 The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget. 
 Walk down a street of private galleries—but it is unnecessary to describe the dealers with their faces like silk purses. Everything they say is said to disguise their proper purpose. If you could fuck works of art as well as buy them, they would be pimps. 
 What served in the place of the photograph, before the camera’s invention? The expected answer is the engraving, the drawing, the painting. The more revealing answer might be: memory. 
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