Gabriel's Reviews > On Photography

On Photography by Susan Sontag
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Dec 04, 13

Read in February, 2009

Sontag occasionally confuses (intentionally, to be sure) still photography, which is at the core of her argument, with film and video, even while she acknowledges that the two are completely separate and distinct, with distinct effects on the public conscious.

And even more insidiously, Sontag manages to get in a few digs at "Realist" writers through her comments on photography. I found myself nodding and smiling, even while cognizant that I was distorting her argument (an argument meant to be distorted in just that way, of course).

Sontag's criticism does tend to be contentious merely to be contentious at times, but it is necessarily so-- she is digging underneath in order to overturn a rock, and if a few bugs crawl out, so be it. It is a remarkable view; one seldom seen, in any case. The bugs make you aware that there is life under there, possibilities that had been hidden until she uncovered them. If you see beauty where she sees bugs, it is nevertheless true that she drew your attention to that beauty.

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