What Is This Thing
Called Photography?





"The world can be seen through photographs. With the assistance of the camera, I am able, quite literally, to see long deceased relatives. So I can say: my great-grandfather died before I was born. He never saw me. But I occasionally see him, when I look at photographs of him. They are not great photographs by any means, but like most photographs they are transparent. The viewer of the photograph sees, literally, the scene that was photographed. We see through photographs. Why do photographs, even poorly exposed and focused ones, seem more of an invasion of privacy than do paintings or drawings of the same subject? Surely it is because the former are transparent whereas the latter are not."