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Photography hasn't changed one bit in its long history. Oh, sure, the methods for making photographs have changed—and radically so: starting in the early 19th century with the production of fragile, one-of-a-kind glass plates coated in silver halide pastes that took hours to prepare, expose, and develop, now photography's techniques have evolved to permit the generation of megapixel digital smartphone images that appear and disappear by the billions with the flick of a fingernail. But the essence of photography—the recording and preservation of an experiential instant in time—remains the same mystical, magical process that has captured the attention and imagination of humans for nearly 200 hundred years.

Photography freezes the moving world into static images that can be seen and shown to others. Photography is an art form, a tool for documenting human and natural history, a way to communicate, to tell stories, to express emotion, a vehicle to expose iniquity, an archive of memory.

Photography's great past practitioners told stories that survive as records of bygone times; today's photographers are telling stories that will speak to generations yet to come.