a memento from a life being lived

In the 20th century and the period between the two world wars, the photography became the dominant and most ‘natural’ way of referring to appearances. It replaced the world as immediate testimony. Photography was thought of as being most transparent, offering direct access to the real, the great witnessing masters of the medium.

Photography offered a new technical opportunity then its usage and its reading were becoming habitual, an unexamined part of modern perception itself. Many developments contributed to this transformation; the new film industry, the invention of lightweight camera, the discovery of photojournalism and the emergence of advertising, etc. .

A mechanical device, the camera has been used as an instrument to contribute to a living memory; the photograph is a memento from a life being lived .

“Words, comparisons, signs need to create a context for a printed photograph in a comparable approaches. A radial system has to be constructed around the photograph so that it may be seen in terms which are simultaneously personal, political, economic, dramatic, everyday and historic”


From Berger, John “Uses of Photography” About Looking. NY: Vintage International, Berger, John “Uses of Photography” About Looking. NY: Vintage International, 1991. 48-63

Quick about photography


Photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe. They are a grammar, and even more importantly an ethics of seeing . Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood. To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge . Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing which means that like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power . Photographs give people an imaginary possession of a part that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure . A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights to interfere with, to invade or to ignore whatever is going on.

From Sontag, Susan. On photography, p3-13. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979