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

 To collect photography is to collect the world. 
 A photograph is supposed not to evoke but to show. That is why photographs, unlike handmade images, can count as evidence. But evidence of what? 
 Though photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, free-standing particles; and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery. 
 Photography is a kind of overstatement, a heroic copulation with the material world. 
 Surrealism lies at the heart of the photographic enterprise: in the very creation of a reality in the second degree, narrower but more dramatic than the one perceived by natural vision. 
 Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are. 
 Life is a movie. Death is a photograph. 
 Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: This is what human beings are capable of doing—may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self-righteously. Don’t forget. 
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