Brassaï (1899-1984) questions in his book ‘Proust and photography’ (original title: ‘Marcel Proust sous l’emprise de la photographie’ and published in Brazil in Portuguese in 2005 by Jorge Zahar Ed., Rio de Janeiro) (version that I now read) that “a simple photograph would possess so as much presence as a real person? Yes, Proust thinks, the photo is even a kind of real double, loaded with all the potentialities of a being”.
And Brassaï goes on to say: “every portrait would not attest to the presence of a person in front of a lens, would it not be an image traced by light itself, as its etymology indicates, by the way: photos=light, graphein=trace? WOULDN’T IT BE THE VERY EMANATION OF THE BEING?”
All I can say is that these are (very) good questions and that I tend to believe that I fully agree with the philosophy of Brassaï and Proust.