Susan Sontag's On Photography is a seminal and groundbreaking work on the subject.
Susan Sontag's groundbreaking critique of photography asks forceful questions about the moral and aesthetic issues surrounding this art form. Photographs are everywhere, and the 'insatiability of the photographing eye' has profoundly altered our relationship with the world. Photogr
I'm rather surprised not to have found any comments in other reviews regarding Sontag's horrific tactlessness in her discussions of "freaks" (in the context of Diane Arbus' work). Less shocking but also disappointing: her wholesale dismissal of the Surrealists, or as she calls them two or three times, the Surrealist "militants", which they decidedly were ...more
America, Seen Through
Photographs, Darkly - 4/5
Melancholy Objects - 5/5
The Heroism of Vision - 4/5
Photographic Evangels - 5/5
The Image-World - 5/5
The above six essays simply make up of the most highly regarded and thoroughly interesting books of its kind. I'm a big fan of Roland Barthes's 'Camera Lucida' (although about photography it's more a personal book dealing with the loss of his mother) and this was equally as good if not better.
Sontag raises important and exciting que ...more
Those seeking a well-constructed history of photography, its development and an introduction to various schools and movements of photography - as I did - are likely to be disappointed. On Photography has no central thesis, and i ...more
Step two: find a writing utensil
Step three: go on the subway/metro/pvta and go!
you will want to underline just about every sentence because it is life changing. You will want to hug your camera and then throw it into a fire. You will never approach the world the same again.
Just do it.
And then go read Regarding the Pain of Others, because it will be like playing Candyland.
This is not at all the book I thought it was. Given its most quoted statement, "To collect photographs is to collect the world," I expected a somewhat romantic vision of the photographic craft. Little did I know that Sontag credits photography ...more
I don't read much nonfiction, and this was originally for a class, but there isn't a single person I wouldn't recommend this to.
The defining moment is in the appendix of quotations, the only good part of the book. The first quote is from the notebooks of William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the earliest photographers. He wrote, "Make picture of kaleidoscope." This ...more
" Through photographs we follow in the most intimate, troubling way the reality of how people age. To look at an old photograph of oneself, of anyone one has known, or of a much photographed public person is to feel, first of all: how muc ...more
Of her string of brilliant observations, my favorites include the notion that taking someone's picture is akin to participating in their mortality, the idea that as soon as a photograph is taken, we've witnessed a second of their life ex ...more
What interesting history the book must have....I can tell by the quotes that were already underlined the previous owner would have been interesting(underlined any reference to Kerouac etc)....
I wish there was a name on the ...more
Sontag's ideas are so culturally important and have been so assimilated into what we "already know" that it may be difficult at first glance to see how remarkable her contributions were back in the day (1977?) when she first began to articulate them... or how relevant they conti ...more
For non-photographers, it is doubtful whether they would find any value in reading this. However, for those (like me), who have an avid interest, this really is an insightful and influential piece of work. It is the kind of writing that is likely to drive one to question the ...more
Every paragraph sounds like the end of a chapter, a summation filled with nuance and aphorism, but it's too much. It's a superhighway jammed with loaded information. It's good stuff, except i wish it had been more concise or I had had the photographs she was mentioning to cut up the incessant babel of her reflection. Her introspection needs more concrete.
Sontag attempts to isolate the photograph as an art form, to insist that photography is the inventory of morality. But because of the objective ...more
Some of her keen observations on photography are:
"Photography does not simply reproduce the real, it recycles it."
"To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting yourself into a certain relationship to the world that feels like knowledge and theref ...more
I don't think this deserve 1* as the essays reference many works and raise some interesting generalizations and opinions on photography and its place in art, especially in comparison to painting. It is to her credit that Sontag can w ...more
(1) how did Sontag learn all these things? maybe because it's essays on familiar and broad topics (taking pictures, looking at pictures) it's shocking to me that she knows every photographer, ever? Like? Excuse me???? (whereas I think if it were on a more specific topic, e.g. "digital beamforming in wireless communications," I ...more
"In the battered Penguin paperback edition that I’ve been reading there were no examples of the many photographs which Sontag referred to in the text, photographs that are freely available, though scattered, around the internet. So for my own benefit and hopefully that of others, I’ve put together links to as many of the images (and photographers) as I could find online with the corresponding page references and quotes from her work (copyright restrictions prevent me from posting them directly h...more
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Her books include four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In Am ...more