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The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses. - Walter Benjamin - The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, sct. 13 (1936; repr. in Illuminations, ed. by Hannah Arendt, 1968)

In photography, exhibition value begins to replace cult value all along the line. But cult value does not give way without resistance..... - Walter Benjamin - Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1939

..a photography which is able to relate a tin of canned food to the universe, yet cannot grasp a single one of the human connections in which that tin exists; a photography which even in its most dreamlike compositions is more concerned with eventual saleability than with understanding… the true facts of this photographic creativity is the advertisement... - Walter Benjamin - "A Short History of Photography" [cited in: “Photography/Politics: One”, Photography Workshop, London 1979, p. 57]

Man is created in the image of God and God’s image cannot be captured by any human machine. Only the divine artist divinely inspired, may be allowed, in a moment of solemnity at the higher call of his genius, to dare to reproduce the divine-human features, but never by means of a mechanical aid ! Here, in all its ponderous vulgarity, treads forth the philistine notion of art, dismissive of every technical consideration yet, sensing its doom as the new technology makes its provocative entry. Nevertheless, it is this fetishistic, fundamentally anti-technical notion of Art which theorists of photography have tussled for almost a century without, of course, achieving the slightest result. - Walter Benjamin - Short History of Photography [cited in "Creative Camera International Year Book 1975", Coo Press Ltd., London 1974 p. 111]

Not for nothing were the pictures of Atget compared with those of the scene of a crime. But is not every spot of our cities the scene of a crime? every passerby a perpetrator? Does not the photographer -- descendent of augurers and haruspices -- uncover guilt in his pictures? - Walter Benjamin

...it was this fetishistic, fundamentally anti-technological concept of art with which the theoreticians of photography sought for almost a hundred years to do battle, naturally without coming to the slightest result. For this view understood nothing except to accredit the photographer before the exact tribunal he had overthrown. - Walter Benjamin

The camera… on the one hand extends our comprehension of the necessities that rule our lives; on the other, it manages to assure us of an immense and unexpected field of action. - Walter Benjamin - 1930, World History of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum , ISBN: 0789209462 , Page: 568
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The limits of photography cannot yet be predicted. Everything to do with it is still so new that even initial exploration may yield strikingly creative results. Technical expertise is obviously the tool of the pioneer in this field. The illiterates of the future will be the people who know nothing of photography rather than those who are ignorant of the art of writing. - Walter Benjamin - 1928. [cited in: “Germany - The New Photography 1927 – 33’ (Documents and essays selected and edited by David Mellor), Arts Council of Great Britain, London 1978, p. 20]

The illiterate of the future will not be the man who cannot read the alphabet, but the one who cannot take a photograph. - Walter Benjamin

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