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. 
 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. 
 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. 
 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. 
 ...there is no everyday activity which does not aspire to be photographed, filmed or videotaped. For there is a general desire to be endlessly remembered and endlessly repeatable. 
 If one observes the movements of a human being in possession of a camera (or of a camera in possession of a human being), the impression given is of someone lying in wait. 
 [Photographic images] absorb the whole of history and form a collective memory going endlessly round in circles. 
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