It is absurd and impossible to totally comprehend the extent of a situation or event, be it of historical or of modern eras, solely by the image encapsulated on a piece of paper. Photographs limit perception of the past and present. Photography poisons the mind to believe that the world is "more available than it really is"; a false sense of security is gained through these rectangular representations. Photographs hide the facial expressions, body language, and emotions felt by those who were actual witnesses to the events. The knowledge gained through photographs can only satisfy our conscience, but never ethically or politically qualify it.
These illustrations can only serve to "fill in blanks in our mental pictures." Although photographs are able to conjure up images within our mind, they can never grasp what is really there: for example although pictures of the murdered children, nuns, and priests who fought against the dictatorship in Ecuador during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, show bloody, incinerated, and disfigured carcasses, they fall short of expressing the beliefs for which they were willing to die for or the cruelty and corruption of their local government. Photographs are a shortcut in the quest to achieve genuine intellect; a cheap excuse perceived only as a mere "semblance of wisdom knowledge at bargain prices." Bonafide understanding can only be captured through time and first-hand experience.
Photography truly is the most "irresistible form of mental pollution." The need for society to encase a moment in time within a photograph is an epidemic that has tainted the pursuit of genuine experience. Not only has photography disabled our ethical sensibility, but it has also minimized our ability to see reality. .