In the NYT, a reflection on the newly-discovered photos of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg:

What would the photographic record show if it reached back, say 500 years, instead of 180?

One answer is that it would show us this same structure over and over again: a fiercely concentrated knot of people hanging on the words of someone at the center of the crowd. And around them? People standing in looser and looser concentrations, until finally — far enough from the epicenter — their attention turns away from history and focuses on the abiding interest of almost anything else. And this is somehow the inherent bias of the camera. It always directs us toward the center of attention, never away to the periphery, even though that is where our attention eventually wanders.

[via librarycrunch]