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click! Photography Changes Everything

Photography is central to understanding who we are and how we portray ourselves and those around us.

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Photography does more than document what we’ve done; it shapes what we do.

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Photography allows us to see what the human eye cannot, what lies outside our daily experience, and determines what we choose to show to each other.

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Photography enables us to see beyond the boundaries of everyday life in ways that were once unimaginable.

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Photography powerfully shapes our needs and expresses desire.

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Photography influences and alters our relationship to history, memory, and even death.

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click! photography changes everything is a collection of original essays, stories and images—contributed by experts from a spectrum of professional worlds and members of the project’s online audience—that explore the many ways photography shapes our culture and our lives. A project of the former Smithsonian Photography Initiative, texts and content for click were commissioned and compiled between 2007-2010. A print version of the project is now available.

Explore how photography changes Who We Are, What We Do, What We See, Where We Go, What We Want and What We Remember.


John Waters Photography changes who and what we can stare at

John Waters, filmmaker, writer, and visual artist who is known for challenging cultural norms, good taste, and poking holes in propriety, muses on the joys and curse of voyeurism.


Submissions are now closed. Thank you for contributions!

The Smithsonian Photography Initiative is now part of the Smithsonian Archives. To learn more about archives in today’s world, as well as an inside look at the challenges in collecting, preserving, and presenting the Smithsonian’s history, visit THE BIGGER PICTURE.