Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 Photographs state the innocence, the vulnerability of lives heading toward their own destruction, and this link between photography and death haunts all photographs of people. 
 All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. 
 The disconcerting ease with which photographs can be taken, the inevitable even when inadvertent authority of the results, suggest a very tenuous relation to knowing. 
 To remember is, more and more, not to recall a story but to be able to call up a picture. 
 The Western memory museum is now mostly a visual one. 
 Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern. 
 Standing alone, photographs promise an understanding they cannot deliver. In the company of words, they take on meaning, but they slough off one meaning and take on another with alarming ease. 
 Life is a movie. Death is a photograph. 
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