For Arbus, both freaks and Middle America were equally exotic: Arbus's work expressed her turn against what was public as she experienced it , conventional, safe, reassuring--and boring--in favor of what was private, hidden, ugly, dangerous, and fascinating. These contrasts, now, seem almost quaint. What is safe no long monopolizes public imagery. The freakish is no longer a private zone, difficult of access. People who are bizarre, in sexual disgrace, emotionally vacant are seen daily on the newsstands, on TV, in the subways.
Hobbesian man roams the streets, quite visible, with glitter in his hair. Although photography generates works that can be called art --it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure-- photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art among other things are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac's Paris.
Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget's Paris. Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry.
Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, form the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography --and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns-- is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.
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.
The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is enhanced by distance. It needs to furnish vast amounts of entertainment in order to stimulate buying and anesthetise the injuries of class, race, and sex. And it needs to gather unlimited amounts of information, the better to exploit natural resources, increase productivity, keep order, make war, give jobs to bureaucrats.
The camera's twin capacities, to subjectivise reality and to objectify it, ideally serve these needs as strengthen them. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: The production of images also furnishes a ruling ideology.
Social change is replaced by a change in images. The freedom to consume a plurality of images and goods is equated with freedom itself. The narrowing of free political choice to free economic consumption requires the unlimited production and consumption of images. Among the consequences of photography is that the meaning of all events is leveled and made equal.
This idea did not originate with Sontag, who often synthesized European cultural thinkers with her particular eye toward the United States. As she argues, perhaps originally with regard to photography, the medium fostered an attitude of anti-intervention.
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. In this context, she discusses in some depth the relationship of photography to politics. In , William H. Gass , writing in The New York Times, said the book "shall surely stand near the beginning of all our thoughts upon the subject" of photography. In a 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.
Sontag's work is literary and polemical rather than academic. It includes no bibliography, and few notes. There is little sustained analysis of the work of any particular photographer and is not in any sense a research project as often written by doctoral students. For example, in her discussion of The Family of Man exhibition she quotes almost word-for-word Roland Barthes ' critique in his book Mythologies , without acknowledgement; "By purporting to show that individuals are born, work, laugh, and die everywhere in the same way, "The Family of Man" denies the determining weight of history - of genuine and historically embedded differences, injustices, and conflicts.
Westerbeck and Michael Lesy. In , Sontag published a partial refutation of the opinions she espoused in On Photography in her book Regarding the Pain of Others. This book may be considered as a postscript or addition to On Photography. Sontag's publishing history includes a similar sequence with regard to her work Illness as Metaphor from the s and AIDS and Its Metaphors a decade later, which included an expansion of ideas contained in the earlier work.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
From its start, photography implied the capture of the largest possible number of subjects. Painting never had so imperial a scope. The subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experiences by translating them into images.
Photography is the world's number one hobby. So when Susan Sontag's On Photography hit the bestseller list recently, it caused an uproar among photo professionals and hobbyists alike. "To photograph people," Sontag said, "is to violate them It turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.".
Feb 02, · Susan Sontag' book, On Photography, is a unique book examining society's relationship to photographs. In my analysis of the first chapter, "In Plato's Cave", I elaborate on what Sontag is trying to say and argue against some of her blogithebestnx.gas: 1. I approached On Photography expecting a sense of warmth and intellect that Maria Popova paints Susan Sontag with. One essay in, I was slightly disappointed to feel no warmth. So, I read an interview of hers where the interviewer says the "yes and no" attitude is typical of her writing, something that I had experienced as well/5.
On Photography [Susan Sontag] on blogithebestnx.ga *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticis m. One of the most highly regarded books of its kind4/5(). ON PHOTOGRAPHY Susan Sontag. Susan Sontag is an essayist and novelist. She has studied at Berkeley, Harvard, Ox.