The photograph is a vehicle only*—but if you have the right consciousness, then you can bring something of the living being into it or become aware of the being for which it stands and can make it a means of contact. It is like the pranapratistha in the image in the temple.
* While looking at a photograph of Sri Aurobindo, the correspondent felt that he was looking at a living being with eyes “as living as real eyes”.—Ed.
-Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga—II
Well, it is quite natural that I should like to write rather about the Mother than about myself. But I suppose you refer to the experience with the photograph—it can be had of course with mine also, but it comes more easily with the Mother’s because her physical contact with the sadhaks is closer than mine. The feeling of being a child comes often when there is the psychic influence behind.
– 4 May 1936, Sri Aurobindo – The Mother with Letters on the Mother