Vilém Flusser
[Writer and philosopher, b. 1920, Prague, Czechoslovakia, d. 1991, Prague.]

 Photographers, it is true, do not work but they do do something: They create, process, and store symbols. 
 Both those taking snaps and documentary photographers... have not understood “information.” What they produce are camera memories, not information, and the better they do it, the more they prove the victory of the camera over the human being. 
 The act of photography is like going on a hunt in which photographer and camera merge into one indivisible function. This is a hunt for new states of things, situations never seen before, for the improbable, for information. 
 He who writes must master the rules of grammar. He who shoots photographs needs only to follow the instructions as given by the camera.... This leads to the paradox that the more people shoot photographs, the less they are capable of deciphering them. 
 [Photographic images] absorb the whole of history and form a collective memory going endlessly round in circles. 
 To be in the photographic universe means to experience, to know and to evaluate the world as a function of photographs. Every single experience, every single bit of knowledge, every single value can be reduced to individually known and evaluated photographs. 
 With every (informative) photograph, the photographic program becomes poorer by one possibility while the photographic universe becomes richer by one realization. 
 The task of a philosophy of photography is to reflect upon [the] possibility of freedom—and thus its significance—in a world dominated by apparatuses; to reflect upon the way in which, despite everything, it is possible for human beings to give significance to their lives in the face of the chance necessity of death. Such a philosophy is necessary because it is the only form of revolution left open to us. 
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