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JEAN BAUDRILLARD
[1929 – 2007] French sociologist, philosopher and cultural theorist
Photography is our exorcism. Primitive society had its masks, bourgeois society its mirrors. We have our images. - Jean Baudrillard - 1998

I am visible, I am image. - Jean Baudrillard - 1993
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The magic of photography is that it is the object which does all the work. - Jean Baudrillard

When the real is no longer what it used to be, nostalgia assumes its full meaning. There is a proliferation of myths of origin and signs of reality; of second-hand truth, objectivity and authenticity. There is an escalation of the true, of the lived experience; a resurrection of the figurative where the object and substance have disappeared. And there is a panic-stricken production of the real and the referential... a strategy of the real... a strategy of deterrence. - Jean Baudrillard

I know a little about photography... but not very much. I came to it as a diversion or a hobby and yet at the same time, it was also something serious, in the sense that it offered an alternative to writing—it was a completely different activity which came from elsewhere and had no connection with writing. - Jean Baudrillard

It is very difficult to photograph individuals or faces. It is impossible to bring someone into focus photographically when you are so little able to get them into focus psychologically. Human beings are such sites of mise-en-scéne, such complex (de)construction, that the lens strips them of their character in spite of themselves. They are so laden with meaning that it is almost impossible to separate them from that meaning to discover the secret form of their absence. - Jean Baudrillard

There is great affection in ascribing meaning to the photographic image. To do so is to make objects strike a pose. - Jean Baudrillard

The intensity of the image is equal to its denial of the real. - Jean Baudrillard

..the photograph that has become digital [is] liberated at a single stroke from both the negative and the real world. - Jean Baudrillard

..the digital photo is in real time and bears witness to something that did not take place, but whose absence signifies nothing. - Jean Baudrillard

The desire to take photographs may perhaps arise from the following observation: looked at in general, from the angle of meaning, the world is distinctly disappointing. In detail, taken unawares, it is always perfectly self-evident. - Jean Baudrillard

Photography is obsessive, temperamental, ecstatic and narcissistic in character. It is a solitary activity. The photographic image is discontinuous, selective, unpredictable and irreparable, like the state of things at any given moment. Any touching up, second thoughts or staging assumes an abominably aesthetic character. - Jean Baudrillard

The image is not a medium for which we have to find the proper use. It is what it is and it is beyond all our moral considerations. It is by its essence immoral, and the world’s becoming-image is an immoral process. - Jean Baudrillard

Digital production erases the image as analogon; it erases the real as something capable of being ‘imagined’. - Jean Baudrillard

Perhaps our eyes are merely a blank film which is taken from us after our deaths to be developed elsewhere and screened as our life story in some infernal cinema or dispatched as microfilm into the sidereal void. - Jean Baudrillard

The miracle today is that appearances, which were long reduced to voluntary servitude but have now gained their independence, are turning around on us, turning against us, through the very technology we use to drive them out. They now come from somewhere else, from their own place, from the heart of their banality; they are bursting in on us from everywhere, joyously multiplying on their own. - Jean Baudrillard

For me, the photography, in its purest form, is a variant of the fable. Another way of saving the appearances—a way of signifying, through this fabulous capture, that this supposed “real” world is always about to lose its meaning and its reality... - Jean Baudrillard

The more we approach absolute definition, or the realistic perfection of the image, the more the image’s power of illusion is lost. - Jean Baudrillard

Once the hallucination which should properly inhabit the image is buried beneath commentary, walled up in aesthetic celebration and condemned to the plastic surgery of the museum, it is finished. - Jean Baudrillard

When calculation and digital win out over form, when software wins out over the eye, can we still speak of photography? - Jean Baudrillard

... the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials—worse: by their artificial resurrection in systems of signs, a more ductile material than meaning... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even of parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself. - Jean Baudrillard

You think you photograph a particular scene for the pleasure it gives. In fact it’s the scene that wants to be photographed. You’re merely an extra in the production. - Jean Baudrillard

Images have become our true sex objects. It is this promiscuity and the ubiquity of images, this viral contamination of images which are the fatal characteristics of our culture. - Jean Baudrillard

For the heavenly fire no longer strikes depraved cities, it is rather the lens which cuts through ordinary reality like a laser, putting it to death. - Jean Baudrillard

Every photographed object is merely the trace left behind by the disappearance of all the rest. It is an almost perfect crime, an almost total resolution of the world, which merely leave the illusion of a particular object shining forth, the image of which then becomes an impenetrable enigma. - Jean Baudrillard

Whatever the noise and violence around them, photographs return objects to a state of stillness and silence. In the midst of urban hustle and bustle, they recreate the equivalent of the desert, a phenomenal isolation. They are the only ways of passing through cities in silence, of moving through the world in silence. - Jean Baudrillard

Is there still an aesthetic illusion? And if not, a path to an “aesthetic” illusion, the radical illusion of secret, seduction and magic? Is there still, on the edges of hypervisibility, of virtuality, room for an image? - Jean Baudrillard

Art can only ally itself with general insignificance and indifference. It no longer has any privileges. It has no final destination other than the fluid universe of communication, networks and interaction. - Jean Baudrillard

Reality itself founders in hyperrealism, the meticulous reduplication of the real, preferably through another, reproductive medium, such as photography. From medium to medium, the real is volatilized, becoming an allegory of death. But it is also, in a sense, reinforced through its own destruction. It becomes reality for it own sake, the fetishism of the lost object: no longer the object of representation, but the ecstasy of denial and of its own ritual extermination: the hyperreal. - Jean Baudrillard

What I bemoan is the aestheticization of photography, its having become one of the Fine Arts, culture having taken it to its bosom. The photographic image, by its technical essence, came from somewhere beyond, or before, aesthetics, and by that token constitutes a substantial revolution in our mode of representation. The irruption of photography throws art itself into question in its aesthetic monopoly of the image. Now, today, things have turned around: it is art which is swallowing up photography and not the other way about. - Jean Baudrillard

The end of the spectacle brings with it the collapse of reality into hyperrealism, the meticulous reduplication of the real, preferably through another reproductive medium such as advertising or photography. - Jean Baudrillard

..disappearance may be the desire to see what the world looks like in our absence (photography) or to see, beyond the end, beyond the subject, beyond all meaning, if there is still an occurrence of the world, an unprogrammed appearance of things. - Jean Baudrillard

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