"Photographs furnish evidence"
-- Susan Sontag, On Photography

In Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and of the past.
-- Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida

In 1882, when photographic evidence was still a novelty in the American courtroom, a judge in a murder case defended the use of the mechanically-generated image in judicial proceedings. In Franklin v. State,69 Ga. 37, 43 (1882), the judge wrote,

We cannot conceive of a more impartial and truthful witness than the sun, as its light stamps and seals the similitude of the wound on the photograph put before the jury; it would be more accurate than the memory of witnesses, and as the object of all evidence is to show truth, why should not this dumb witness show it?

Oliver Wendell Holmes announced, upon the invention of the photograph, "Form is henceforth divorced from matter. . . . Give us a few negatives of a thing worth seeing, taken from different points of view, and that is all we want of it. Pull it down or burn it up as you will."

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