“A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs—especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past—are incitements to reverie. The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is enhanced by distance. The lover's photograph hidden in a married woman's wallet, the poster photograph of a rock star tacked up over an adolescent's bed, the campaign button image of a politician's face pinned on a voters coat...such talismanic uses of photographs express a feeling both sentimental and implicitly magical: they are attempts to contact or lay claim to another reality.”
― Susan Sontag, On Photography
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the impacts of the printing press by examining its utility in society, both as an instrument to preserve cultural products of the past and as an agent of change. By investigating the compelling question “Did the printing press preserve the past or invent the future?” students evaluate both functions of the printing press and consider which had the greater impact.