"Sebald’s four novels and his one book of non-fiction are all peppered with black and white images, most of them photographs. Sebald is a long-time amateur photographer and a collector of photographs found at charity shops, at garage sales, in garbage bins, along road sides. In his books, these photographs always arrive unannounced, but always just in time to buoy a claim or stabilize a reference.
In Sebald’s books, the photographs fulfill the role played by the anatomy textbook in Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson. Actually, to be more precise, the photographs fulfill the role played by the anatomy textbook in the scene depicted in Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson. Reading Sebald, we are the members of the Guild of Surgeons, distracted from the subjectivity of the testimony before us by the apparent objectivity of the photographs."
Link: What Counts As True.