July 19, 2021 #Maria Popova #Photography
We say that photographs “immortalize,” and yet they do the very opposite. Every photograph razes us on our own ephemeral temporality by forcing us to contemplate a moment—and unrepeatable fragment of existence—that once was and never again will be. To look at a daguerrotype is to confront the fact of our own mortality in the countenance of a person long dead, a person who once inhabited a fleeting moment—alive with dreams and desperations—just as you now inhabit this one. Rather than bringing us closer to immortality, photography humbled us before our moral finitude.