No consideration of photography can any longer pretend to credibility without a full recognition of photography’s imminent eclipse. Our end-century vintage prints are destined to be the last. The digital image, with its electronic and algorithmic matrix, has made chemicals, even to a degree optics, obsolete. Its binary logic has pinned down the pulverized world of light-sensitive granules, convened luminosity, color, and tonal gradation into measurable, calculable bits of information. What hasn’t budged, though, is a basic story of activating energy. At some point, no doubt, we will acknowledge that a technique for manipulating light, often for representational ends, developed in the 19th century and evolved with great physicochemical inventiveness, only decades before a powerful conceptual apparatus, quantum mechanics, ratified light’s corpuscular quantum condition and made the activity

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