That photography was more than a mere technological breakthrough was clear to its inventors but not to their contemporaries or generations after. The fast visual appropriation of “reality,” the sudden transformation of this reality into an image which mirrored our world, gave us a new lease on immortality. From its inception, photography became an act of assertion and vainglory and biographers could study the psychology of a face as well as the depth of the soul. Walt Whitman once wrote: “I've been photographed, photographed, and photographed until the cameras themselves are tired of me.” (As quoted by Justin Kaplan. Walt Whitman. A Life. Simon & Schuster, 1980.) From Whitman's ego trips to the forced smiles in that brief but powerful scene in the film, Ordinary People, when family soul‐searching is captured by the click of a camera, the world around us is preserved and mythologized. Photography is witness to history and art, and shapes our lives as well. In a recent interview, Mikhail Baryshnikov stated that as a dancer he had been influenced not only by other choreographers but by “movies, musicals,(and) photo exhibitions.” (The New York Times, June 28, 1981, p. 6). Thus, photography becomes archival material, for it speaks of the human adventure in all its diversity.
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