On photography

Bob Dylan revisits his past through the recent release of a studio outtake of Not Dark Yet, a song from his 1997 album Time Out of Mind. The song is hauntingly beautiful, with its intimations of loss and mortality, the dream-like atmosphere of its arrangements and Dylan’s weathered voice. The video created for this release is something else, essentially a slide-show comprising dozens of photos, the most exquisite photos, revisiting America during the Twentieth Century, showing the haunting beauty of historical documentary photography at its best.

Susan Sontag summed it up perfectly in a line from her book On Photography:

Indeed, the most enduring triumph of photography has been its aptitude for discovering beauty in the humble, the inane, the decrepit. At the very least, the real has a pathos. And that pathos is—beauty.

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