May 3, Susan Sontag was born in New York City on January 16, To experience The RosettaBooks Connection for On Photography: www. ON PHOTOGRAPHY. Susan Sontag. Susan Sontag is an essayist and novelist. She has studied at Berkeley, Harvard, Ox ford, and the Sorbonne and considers. thereby guaranteeing them longevity, if not immortality- photographs are fragile objects, easily torm or mislaidand a wider public. The photograph in a book is, .
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Susan Sontag To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It rneans putting srnooth obiect, a photograph loses much less of its essential. Susan Sontag, In Plato's Cave from the book: On Photography. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page Page On Photography, by Susan Sontag (Introduction). Photography, probably more than any other medium, is emblematic of the nature of modern Western society.
Photography, according to Susan Sontag, holds an almost unlimited authority in modern society. Such photographic images are capable of replacing reality by virtue of being not only a mirror or interpretation of in, but also a relic of reality, something that is taken straight from it. Photography, unlike painting, does not only address and represent its object and does not only resemble it; it is also a part of the object, its direct extension. Photography, according to Sontag, is a form of acquisition in a number of ways.
When you photograph something, it becomes a part of certain knowledge system, adapted to schemas of classification and storage starting from family photographs up to police, political and scientific usage.
Photography, in other words, is a form of supervision. Primitive tribes are afraid that the camera will take their soul or something from their being. Modern societies do not of course share this fear by still views photography as directly related to the material world, a physical relic of it.
A typical nowadays statement is that an experience was "like in a movie", which is said when other forms of description fail to convey how real a sensation was.
While many people in developing countries are still hesitant about being photographed, people in industrialized countries are more than happy to stand in front of a camera and that is because, Sontag argues, that being photographed gives us a sense of being real and of existing.
This very insatiability of the photographing eye changes the terms of confinement in the cave, our world. 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. They are a grammar and, even more importantly, an ethics of seeing.
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. To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge — and, therefore, like power.
The lens, one of the ideas that changed photography What makes this insight particularly prescient is that Sontag arrived at it more than three decades before the age of the social media photostream — the ultimate attempt to control, frame, and package our lives — our idealized lives — for presentation to others, and even to ourselves. 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. Rather, Sontag presages, the photograph became a utility in our cultural power-dynamics: It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.
Popular taste expects an easy, an invisible technology. Manufacturers reassure their customers that taking pictures demands no skill or expert knowledge, that the machine is all-knowing, and responds to the slightest pressure of the will.
Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive. The camera obscura, one of the ideas that changed photography But in addition to dividing us along a power hierarchy, photographs also connect us into communities and nuclear units.
Sontag writes: Through photographs, each family constructs a portrait-chronicle of itself — a portable kit of images that bears witness to its connectedness. 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.
Similarly, Sontag notes the heightened use of photography in tourism. Sontag writes: Photographs … help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure. Thus, photography develops in tandem with one of the most characteristic of modern activities: tourism.
For the first time in history, large numbers of people regularly travel out of their habitual environments for short periods of time.