On Photography. [2], In a 1998 appraisal of the work, Michael Starenko, wrote in Afterimage that "On Photography has become so deeply absorbed into this discourse that Sontag's claims about photography, as well as her mode of argument, have become part of the rhetorical 'tool kit' that photography theorists and critics carry around in their heads. And it ends with visual statements that express what matters to you about these things. It is a set of essays on the "philosophy" of picture-taking and the meaning of photography in the modern (ca. In this context, she discusses in some depth the relationship of photography to politics. Sontag says that the individual who seeks to record cannot intervene, and that the person who intervenes cannot then faithfully record, for the two aims contradict each other. To take a photograph, Sontag writes, "is to appropriate the thing photographed." It’s an excellent analysis of the far-reaching changes photographic images have made in our way of looking at the world and at ourselves. Susan Sontag’s On Photography, first published in 1977, has a lot to do with this. Since these essays are not written in the language of trade magazines or the instructions packed with chemicals or equipment (my normal photographic reading materials), it took some time to familiarize myself with her style. You become involved with what you are photographing and think about what you are doing. Her interests range widely from detailed analyses of individual photographers to why people fear having their photographs taken; from historical development in photographic equipment to why people take pictures of any and everything: tourist to scientist, artist to technician, surveillance photography to medical examinations. Susan Sontag. Sontag's work is literary and polemical rather than academic. Susan Sontag (/ ˈ s ɒ n t æ ɡ /; January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist. This series of six essays and a collection of quotations is not a book for the beginner wanting to venture into the world of photography. Although one will not agree with all of her conclusions or premises (primarily because she does not spend enough time establishing most of them) her statements are engaging, thought provoking and evoke comment or criticism from the reader. [4]. Not only are photographs a physical object, it gives us a way to visualize a captured moment. Essay #6: The Image World. In an attempt to further explore the values of photography today, Media&Values asked two professional photographers to read the book and share their responses. 21 likes. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs—especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past—are incitements to reverie. I read a few articles about photography and finally, Susan Sontag’s superb essays On Photography. Susan Sontag’s book “On Photography” is a classic. The second essay, "America, Seen through Photographs, Darkly," begins with Walt Whitman's (1819–1892) idea that a complete experience of America sets aside notions of value and democratizes reality, allowing for beauty in all things.Sontag says that showing beauty in all things was the initial goal of American photographers, but this idealistic quest has fallen by the wayside. So when Susan Sontag's On Photography hit the bestseller list recently, it caused an uproar among photo professionals and hobbyists alike. Photography is a way to shout "Wow" and really mean it. In 2003, Sontag published a partial refutation of the opinions she espoused in On Photography in her book Regarding the Pain of Others. 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