In its childhood photography was already a memory garden of antiquities. Many of the earliest images were of ancient ruins and religious monuments in exotic locales, like Captain Linnaeus Tripe’s huge monochromes of the palace in Madura, India, taken in 1856, or Francis Firth’s pictures of the pyramids and the Temple of Karnak. The subjects were in part determined by the limited technology of the view camera, with its delicate, chemically treated plates that required long exposures. But when we look at a picture like Maxime du Camp’s The Colossus of Abu Simbel, where a human figure slouches minutely against the shoulder of the huge pharaonic pile as a measure of its immensity, we feel some of that rapture for mass which early photographers must have experienced. The desire to “view” a piece of civilized antiquity or ancient wilderness was also a memory act to interrupt the procession of the world before the eye...

 
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