Abigail Solomon-Godeau
[Writer and theorist, b. 1947, New York, lives in Santa Barbara, California.]

 “The thing itself” is never just out there in the world waiting to be framed by the photographer’s Leica; rather, it is something dynamically produced in the act of representation and reception and already subject to the grids of meaning imposed on it by culture, history, language, and so forth. 

Walter Benjamin
[Philosopher, critic, and theorist, b. 1892, Berlin, d. 1940, Port Bou, France.]

 Every day the urge grows stronger to get a hold of an object at very close range by way of its likeness, its reproduction. (1936) 

Simone de Beauvoir
[Writer and philosopher, b. 1908, Paris, d. 1986, Paris.]

 Representation of the world like the world itself is the work of men, they describe it from their point of view which they confuse with absolute truth. 

David Maisel
[Photographer, b. 1961, New York, lives in San Francisco.]

 For me, then, photography is an act of mapping: making something that represents something else. 

Alexander Gardner
[Photographer, b. 1821, Paisley, Scotland, d. 1882, Washington, D.C.]

 Verbal representations of such places or scenes may, or may not, have the merit of accuracy; but photographic presentments of them will be accepted by posterity with an undoubting faith. 

Lewis Baltz
[Photographer, b. 1945, Newport Beach, California, d. 2014, Paris.]

 One of photography’s early attractions for me was that it was – or could be made to appear to be – almost the same as ordinary vision; or at least it was the closest thing to that the arts offered. It had the illusion of being unmediated seeing, and it was that quality that I wanted to exploit… 

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
[Writer, b. 1835, Hannibal, Missouri, d. 1910, Redding, Connecticut.]

 My dear Sir, I thank you very much for your letter and your photograph. In my opinion you are more like me than any other of my numerous doubles. I may even say that you resemble me more closely than I do myself. In fact, I intend to use your picture to shave by. Yours thankfully, S. Clemens. (Reply to a man who sent him a photograph and claimed to be his double.) 

Craig Owens
[Writer and critic, b. 1950, d. 1990.]

 Representation, then, is not—nor can it be—neutral; it is an act—indeed the founding act—of power in our culture. 
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