https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/09/16/susan-sontag-on-photography-social-media/ I ordered the book through Amazon, it arrived promptly, and not only did Sontag provide some great quotes of her own but she includes an extensive supplement of quotations by photographers or about photography - just what I needed. Susan Sontag was born in New York City on January 16, 1933, grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and attended high school in Los Angeles. Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive. I found myself committed to giving a talk to my Photo Club on "Quotations from famous Photographers". Your support makes all the difference. On Photography remains a cultural classic of the most timeless kind, with every reading unfolding timelier and timelier insights as our visual vernacular continues to evolve. Not the easiest read but seems to, making deeply insightful and intellectually sharp points but can be a real endeavour to get through what feels like a generous a, Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 May 2016. Reviewing Susan Sontag's book is analogous to printing in the darkroom. That most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarmé, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. For non-photographers, it is doubtful whether they … The narrowing of free political choice to free economic consumption requires the unlimited production and consumption of images.”. All future discussion or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies are now bound to begin with her book. Susan Sontag (1933–2004) was a novelist, playwright, filmmaker, and one of the most influential critics of her generation. © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Nonetheless, the modern reader can easily comprehend the technical, psychological, social and artistic embedding of photography that Sontag offers on these pages. A must read for anyone who takes photography seriously. She mostly wrote essays, but also published novels; she published her first major work, the essay " Notes on 'Camp' ", in 1964. For one thing, there are a great many more images around, claiming our attention. If this labor has enlarged and enriched your own life this year, please consider aiding its sustenance with a one-time or loyal donation. The aggression Sontag sees in this purposeful manipulation of reality through the idealized photographic image applies even more poignantly to the aggressive self-framing we practice as we portray ourselves pictorially on Facebook, Instagram, and the like: Images which idealize (like most fashion and animal photography) are no less aggressive than work which makes a virtue of plainness (like class pictures, still lifes of the bleaker sort, and mug shots). There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera. If this labor has enlarged and enriched your own life this year, please consider aiding its sustenance with a one-time or loyal donation. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge — and, therefore, like power. Finally, the most grandiose result of the photographic enterprise is to give us the sense that we can hold the whole world in our heads — as an anthology of images. Conditions apply. The inventory started in 1839 and since then just about everything has been photographed, or so it seems. John Berger and Susan Sontag speak about story telling and about the ethic of photography CHAPTER 1 CRITIQUE (Plato’s Cave) I’m always suspicious of thinkers who always invoke the Plato Cave analogy (I’m with Nietzsche in […] Understanding a Photograph: Penguin on Design (Penguin Modern Classics), Against Interpretation and Other Essays (Penguin Modern Classics), Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (Vintage Classics), "A brilliant analysis of the profound changes photographic images have made in our way of looking at the world and at ourselves over the last 140 years. To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. The last, essentially, is Sontag's subject, approached—after a splatter of (as yet) unsupported assertions —via touchstone figures: writers, photographers, painters interchangeably. Susan Sontag was the author of four novels, including In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction; a collection of stories; several plays; and seven works of nonfiction.She died in New York City on December 28, 2004. And whether we use them to expose, reveal or remember, they hold an enduring power. Please try your request again later. But being educated by photographs is not like being educated by older, more artisanal images. 1970) world. For the first time in history, large numbers of people regularly travel out of their habitual environments for short periods of time. Sontag writes: Through photographs, each family constructs a portrait-chronicle of itself — a portable kit of images that bears witness to its connectedness. — There's a problem loading this menu at the moment. Classic text on photography to read again and again. Highly perceptive, succinct, sensitive analysis of visual image reproduction which had come into its own during the interwar years and defined how we watched the world right up to the appearance of the digital camera at the dawn of the new millennium. Out of those souvenirs we build a fantasy — one we project about our own lives, and one we deduce about those of others: Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 March 2016. My critique: I think Susan Sontag hates photography. If you want think think more about photography and what it means and how it works aesthetically and in society this is a must. A good book for A level or college students, I was made to read this straight from school but have come back to it several times throughout my education and research practice. — First published in 1977, it brings together a series of nonfiction pieces originally published in The New York Review of Books between 1973 and 1977. For most of us, especially those who find tremendous fulfillment and absorption in our work, Sontag’s observation about the photograph as a self-soothing tool against the anxiety of “inefficiency” rings terrifyingly true: The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work. But despite the meteoric rise of photography from a niche curiosity to a mass medium over the past century and a half, there’s something ineffably yet indisputably different about visual culture in the digital age — something at once singular and deeply rooted at the essence of the photographic image itself. If, for example, you admire the clarity and concisely meaningful style of John Berger/Ways Of Seeing, this might feel like more of an uphill struggle. Susan Sontag was born in Manhattan in 1933 and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. The Times'A brilliant analysis of the profound changes photographic images have had in our way of looking at the world, and at ourselves, over the years.' Much of what Sontag says applies to today's culture of images. I was aware of the book but had never read it. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. Subscribe to this free midweek pick-me-up for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate from the standard Sunday digest of new pieces: Ever since its invention in 1839, the photographic image and its steady evolution have shaped our experience of reality — from chronicling our changing world and recording its diversity to helping us understand the science of emotion to anchored us to consumer culture. Susan Sontag's groundbreaking critique of photography asks forceful questions about the moral and aesthetic issues surrounding this art form. Aesthetic Consumerism and the Violence of Photography: What Susan Sontag Teaches Us about Visual Culture and the Social Web, Essential Life-Learnings from 14 Years of Brain Pickings, Singularity: Marie Howe’s Ode to Stephen Hawking, Our Cosmic Belonging, and the Meaning of Home, in a Stunning Animated Short Film, The Cosmic Miracle of Trees: Astronaut Leland Melvin Reads Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests, How Kepler Invented Science Fiction and Defended His Mother in a Witchcraft Trial While Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Universe, Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert, Rebecca Solnit’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Books Solace, Empower, and Transform Us, Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives, In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times, A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca on the Antidote to Anxiety, The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. One has to wonder, however, whether — and how much — the family circle has been replaced by the social circle as we construct our online communities around photostreams and shared timelines. The practice of photography gives us assurance by its accurate relation to reality than any other devices. Though On Photography (public library) — the seminal collection of essays by reconstructionist Susan Sontag — was originally published in 1977, Sontag’s astute insight resonates with extraordinary timeliness today, shedding light on the psychology and social dynamics of visual culture online. Shop books, stationery, devices and other learning essentials. Probably I should have sent it back. In teaching us a new visual code, photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe. "-Calvin Trillin, " The New Yorker"" ". Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's Cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 May 2017. "-John Berger "Not many photographs are worth a thousand of [Susan Sontag's] words. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in. While she didn't foresee the massive proliferation of images that exist today - notably the self-referential nature of a lot of photography - her insights are spot on. In 2020, I spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars keeping Brain Pickings going. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Approved third parties also use these tools in connection with our display of ads. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I receive a small percentage of its price. 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