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Photos Within Photographs

SUPPOSE THAT, OF ALL the things the camera lens scans, photographs, Kodak bric-a-brac, might be among them—caught by chance in a natural environment, a room to whose decor they contribute. We know that a photograph freezes a particular instant in time, continuously receding from something called “the present” (an ephemeral sensation of future viewers). A photo within a photograph emits a doubling effect that regresses inward. It marks off at least two instants in time, contained and containing. And sometimes the contrast between them, intentional or not, can be nostalgic, even poignant.

On the other hand, I thought of photography in perhaps its commonest role, as a reproducing agent. No one knows the percentage in illustrated books of photos taken of photos, often reproduced from other books. Where the original negatives or prints thereof are unavailable, images are passed on grainily to

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