It is thus at the level of this denoted message or message without code that the real unreality of the photograph can be fully understood: its unreality is that of the here-now, for the photograph is never experienced as illusion, is in no way a presence… its reality that of the having-been-there, for in every photograph there is always the stupefying evidence of this is how it was, giving us, by a precious miracle, a reality from which we are sheltered. This kind of temporal equilibrium (having-been-there) probably diminishes the projective power of the image… the this was so easily defeats the it’s me. (trans. 1977, page 278)
This reminded me of a Mitch Hedberg joke:
It goes a bit more like this:
One time, this guy handed me a picture of him, he said,”Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.”
Every picture is of you when you were younger.
“Here’s a picture of me when I’m older.”
“You son-of-a-bitch! How’d you pull that off? Lemme see that camera… what’s it look like?”
You can decide who’s more convincing!