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

 ...photography has no language of its own. One learns to read photographs as one learns to read footprints or cardiograms. 
 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. 
 The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time. 
 What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time. 
 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. 
 If everything that existed were continually being photographed, every photograph would become meaningless. 
 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. 
 If no theoretical distinction has been made between the photograph as scientific evidence and the photograph as a means of communication, this has been not so much an oversight as a proposal. 
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