susan sontag quotes on photography

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The book assembles six essays originally published between 1973 and 1977 in the New York Review of Books. Aug 31, 2017 - Explore Nargess Behrouzian's board "Susan sontag" on Pinterest. But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures.”. (pg. Images transfix. 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. 41). (pg. Photographs tended to praise or to aim at neutrality‘. 68). Social misery has inspired the comfortably-off with the urge to take pictures, the gentlest of predations, in order to document a hidden reality, that is, a reality hidden from them‘. P&P Work in Progress, S&S Oral Presentation Even though Sontag later refuted many of her own ideas, the remains influential. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers)‘. (pg. ‘For Moholy-Nagy the genius of photography lies in its ability to render ‘an objective portrait: the individual to be photographed so that the photographic result shall not be encumbered with subjective intention‘. I find her work lacking in academic rigour, and very prone to deeply personal judgment – in fact, she and Roland Barthes have much in common on these two counts. On Photography. Contextual Research “On … ‘Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire‘. According to one attitude, there is nothing that should not be seen; according to the other, there is nothing that should not be recorded‘. To take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the value of the people photographed. The ultimate wisdom of the photographic image is to say, 'There is the surface. (pg. New York: Anchor Books. Our very sense of situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions‘. P&P Proposal 12). Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted‘. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers), Kosmo Foto – 1970s Istanbul on a Pentax KX, https://observer.com/2014/12/to-do-friday-and-saturday-night-see-susan-sontag-documentary/, Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivative Works – 3.0 Unported. 10). ‘J. (pg. ‘In much of conceptual art, in Christo’s packaging of the landscape, in the earthworks of Walter De Maria and Robert Smith-son, the artist’s work is known principally by the photographic report of it in galleries and museums; sometimes the size is such that it can only be known in a photograph (or from an airplane). Anyone interested in the social roles of photography will find this book fascinating and thought-provoking. Photography is a great hobby. I have thus decided to put them all in one place, for future reference. America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly. 178). The power of photography --and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns-- is that it confirms both ideas of art. Social misery has inspired the comfortably-off with the urge to take pictures, the gentlest of predations, in order to document a hidden reality, that is, a reality hidden from them, The flâneur is not attracted to the city’s official realities but to its dark seamy corners, its neglected populations, an unofficial reality behind the facade of bourgeois, The FSA project, conceived as ‘pictorial documentation of our rural areas and rural problems’ (Stryker’s words), was unabashedly propagandistic. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution.”, “to take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt.”, “The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. (pg. But their appeal is that they also seem, in a world littered with photographic relics, to have the status of found objects – unpremeditated slices of the world. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made‘. This is still the aim of most amateur photographers, for whom a beautiful photograph is a photograph of … Susan Sontag (1978). Tweets by @mickyates 55). (pg 62). Kodak put signs at the entrances of many towns listing what to photograph. ‘Photography has the unappealing reputation of being the most realistic, therefore facile, of the mimetic arts. Susan Sontag – Quotes from ‘On Photography’. ‘Strand and Weston, who both acknowledge a similarity between their ways of seeing and those of Kandinsky and Brancusi, may have been attracted to the hard edge of Cubist style in reaction to the softness of Stieglitz’s images‘ (pg. 63). (pg. (pg. (pg. Susan Sontag’s “On Photography” is one of the worst texts you can ever assign to an aspiring photographer, photography student, photography beginner, or lover of photography. ‘For Baudelaire, photography was painting’s ‘mortal enemy’; but eventually a truce was worked out, according to which photography was held to be painting’s liberator‘. Share with your friends. (pg. 28). 1977. ‘The whole of a life may be summed up in a momentary appearance. CHAPTER 1 CRITIQUE (Plato’s Cave) I’m always suspicious of thinkers who always invoke the Plato Cave analogy (I’m with Nietzsche in […] Quite frankly, I am not a fan of Susan Sontag. 131). By using ‘his machinery’ – as Rosenfeld puts it – ‘unmechanically’, Stieglitz shows that the camera not only ‘gave him an opportunity of expressing himsel’ but supplied images with a wider and ‘more delicate’ gamut’ ‘than the hand can draw‘. Susan Sontag was an American writer, filmmaker, and critic. (pg. (pg. (pg. (pg. (pg. Photography isn’t so much interested in the beautiful, she says at one point, “In photography’s early decades, photographs were expected to be idealised images. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? In her preface, Sontag clarifies that it "all began with one essay": the following book bounces of the springboard of an idea that began with a simple consideration as to … Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”, “To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. (pg. — "About Hodgkin," from Howard Hodgkin Paintings (1995), p. 109. 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. ‘In China, where no space is left over from politics and moralism for expressions of aesthetic sensibility, only some things are to be photographed and only in certain ways’. (pg. Any collection of photographs is an exercise in Surrealist montage and the Surrealist abbreviation of history‘. (pg. 8). ‘Photographs, which turn the past into a consumable object, are a short cut. ‘The freedom to consume a plurality of images and goods is equated with freedom itself‘. And a change in appearances is a change in the person, for he refused to posit any ‘real’ person ensconced behind these appearances‘. "What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine." Both presuppose that photography provides a unique system of disclosures: that it shows us reality as we had not seen it before‘. And, being hidden, is something to be unveiled‘. Now all art aspires to the condition of photography‘. 173). Of course, this modern day was the 1970's, but many of the key elements described in the collection of essays still remain relevant. In A Second Flowering (1973) and The Dream of the Golden Mountains (1980), Malcolm Cowley looked back at the writers between… Images anesthetize.”. 144). On Photography began with a single essay in which Susan Sontag wanted to explore some of the problems, both aesthetic and moral, presented by the omnipresence of photographed images in … Like. Like. mickyates April 10, 2019 ContextualResearch, Critical Research Journal, Critical Theory, Documentary, ICWeek11, Ideas, Informing Contexts, Media Theory, Photography, Portrait, Quotes Leave a Comment. Born in 1933, Sontag wrote plays, essays, and fiction until her death in 2004. 14). ... — Susan Sontag For example, now all adults can know exactly how they and their parents and grandparents looked as children – a knowledge not available to anyone before the invention of cameras. The photographer is supertourist, an extension of the anthropologist, visiting natives and bringing back news of their exotic doings and strange gear‘. 159). (pg. Now nature - tamed, endangered, mortal - needs to be protected from people. An example of photography-as-science is the project August Sander began in 1911‘. It is a set of essays on the "philosophy" of picture-taking and the meaning of photography in the modern (ca. 51). ‘The FSA project, conceived as ‘pictorial documentation of our rural areas and rural problems’ (Stryker’s words), was unabashedly propagandistic, with Stryker coaching his team about the attitude they were to take toward their problem subject. “But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. ‘Capitalist society requires a culture based on images. S&S Work in Progress, FMP Pecha Kucha (pg. It is unlikey that Warhol, who comes from a working-class family, ever felt any ambivalence toward success which afflicted the children of the Jewish upper middle classes in the 1960s. (pg 86). (pg. 4). ', 'I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list. (And the aestheticizing of reality that makes everything, anything, available to the camera is what also permits the co-opting of any photograph, even one of an utterly practical sort, as art.) Susan Sontag’s fame was always paradoxical. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. There are some very pithy quotes which to be considered, and over time I have been collecting these. 167). It is inevitable that more and more art will be designed to end as photographs. Pay attention. 66). It can also corrupt them. (pg. (pg. ‘Photography reinforces a nominalist view of social reality as consisting of small units of an apparently infinite number …‘. (pg. ‘By taking over the task of realistic picturing hitherto monopolized by painting, photography freed painting for its great modernist vocationist abstraction. (pg 55). 54). 52). (pg. 74). Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget's Paris. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac's Paris. Books of photography pile higher and higher – measuring the lost past (hence, the promotion of amateur photography), taking the temperature of the present. To make oneself more numb. ‘As if to refute the fact that many superb pictures are by photographers devoid of any serious or interesting intentions, the insistence that picture-taking is first of all the focusing of a temperament, only secondarily of a machine, has always been one of the main themes of the defense of photography. Project Development, 1 Positions & Practice 149). I read a few articles about photography and finally, Susan Sontag’s superb essays On Photography. The fine arts assume that certain experiences or subjects have a meaning. 51). ‘… photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask‘. ‘Speed is at the bottom of it all’, as Hart Crane said (writing about Stieglitz in 1923), ‘the hundredth of a second caught so precisely that the motion is continued from the picture indefinitely: the moment made eternal’. Faced with the awesome spread and alienness of a newly settled continent, people wielded cameras as a way of taking possession of the places they visited. If they are not the same thing, they must be intimately connected because at some amount of reality is always captured in a visual image. ‘Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience’. The media are essentially contentless (this is the truth behind Marshall McLuhan’s celebrated remark about the message being the medium itself); their characteristic tone is ironic, or dead-pan, or parodistic. 122). (pg. (pg. This gives shape to experience: stop, take a photograph, and move on. “Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”. To someone raised as a Catholic, like Warhol (and virtually everyone in his gang), a fascination with evil comes much more genuinely than it does to someone from a Jewish background. (pg. 51 Copy quote. 92). 2 Informing Contexts (pg. Social change is replaced by a change in images. And to have one’s judgement of an entire genre of work (atrocity photography) coloured solely by one’s childhood fears is, well, the work of an amateur. ', and 'Do stuff. 53). ‘Some photographers set up as scientists, others as moralists. (pg. It needs to furnish vast amounts of entertainment in order to stimulate buying and anesthetise the injuries of class, race, and sex. The flâneur is not attracted to the city’s official realities but to its dark seamy corners, its neglected populations, an unofficial reality behind the facade of bourgeois‘. The production of images also furnishes a ruling ideology. The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic, “To collect photographs is to collect the world.”, “The photographer is now charging real beasts, beleaguered and too rare to kill. ‘Photographs make normative an experience of art that is mediated, second-hand, intense in a different way‘. There is probably no subject that cannot be beautified; moreover, there is no way to suppress the tendency inherent in all photographs to accord value to their subjects‘. 3 Surfaces & Strategies The sublimity of color in Hodgkin's pictures can be thought of as, first of all, expressive of gratitude for the world that resists and survives the ego and its discontents. “Life is not about significant details, illuminated a flash, fixed forever. Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art‘. 122). ‘The history of photography could be recapitulated as the struggle between two different imperatives: beautification, which comes from the fine arts, and truth-telling, which is measured not only by a notion of value-free truth, a legacy from the sciences, but by a moralized ideal of truth-telling‘. Arbus had neither Warhol's narcissism and genius for publicity nor the self-protective blandness with which he insulates himself from the freaky nor his sentimentality. For example, now all adults can know exactly how they and their parents and grandparents looked as children – a knowledge not available to anyone before the invention of cameras, not even to that tiny minority among whom it was customary to commission paintings of their children‘. (pg. (pg. In On Photography, Susan Sontag discusses what she believes photography does to society in the modern day. ‘In fact, photography first comes into its own as an extension of the eye of the middle-class flâneur, whose sensibility was so accurately charted by Baudelaire. It made no sense that a writer publishing in the so-called little magazines, like Partisan Review and the New York Review of Books, on topics like structuralist philosophy or the history of interpretation, could cross over to become a major literary star. All that said, there are many nuggets of wisdom, and, to follow my own logic, I need to both be cognisant of these views, and be prepared to counter the ones I do not agree with. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers). To steel oneself against weakness. 115). The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. (pg. (pg. ‘To photograph is to confer importance. ‘In principle, photography executes the Surrealist mandate to adopt an uncompromisingly egalitarian attitude toward subject matter. Nevertheless, Sontag’s radical thoughts on photography are as potent as ever. For, as photography was entering the scene, painting was already, on its own, beginning its long retreat from realistic representation – Turner was born in 1775, Fox Talbot in 1800 – and the territory photography came to occupy with such rapid and complete success would probably have been depopulated anyway‘. Susan Sontag's On Photography Chapter Summary. 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. ‘Two attitudes underlie this presumption that anything in the world is material for the camera. Ideally, the photographer was able to make the two realities cognate, as illustrated by the title of an interview with Hine in 1920, Treating Labor Artistically‘. It is not a defect that we are not seared, that we do not suffer, “A capitalist society requires a culture based on images. (pg. 5 Final Major Project, IC Critical Review 162). ‘… that a society becomes ‘modern’ when one of its chief activities is producing and consuming images‘. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture. ‘All that photography’s program of realism actually implies is the belief that reality is hidden. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.”, “A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. FMP Project Proposal I find her work lacking in academic rigour, and very prone to deeply personal judgment – in fact, she and Roland Barthes have much in common on these two counts. 11). Signs marked the places in national parks where visitors should stand with their cameras’. 62). tags: photography. 100). Quotations by Susan Sontag, American Author, Born January 16, 1933. Find summaries for every chapter, including a On Photography Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. See more ideas about Susan sontag, Susan sontag quotes, Susan. (pg. ‘As Berenice Abbott writes: ‘The photographer is the contemporary being par excellence; through his eyes the now becomes past’. But photography’s impact on painting was not as clear-cut as that. 57). I applaud the fact that they ‘take a view’, rather than sitting on the sidelines. This is the theme stated so eloquently in the finest essay ever written in praise of photography, Paul Rosenfeld’s chapter on Stieglitz in Port of New York. attention is vitality. ‘Nobody exclaims, ‘isn’t that ugly! ‘The pious uplift of Steichen’s photograph anthology and the cool dejection of the Arbus retrospective both render history and politics irrelevant. (pg. ‘For an approach reminiscent of Sander’s, one must look to people who documented a dying or superseded part of America – like Adam Clark Vroman, who photographed Indians in Arizona and New Mexico between 1895 and 1904. All trademarks and registered designs on Yatesweb and Mick Yates Photography are the property of their owners. ‘Surrealism is the art of generalizing the grotesque and then discovering nuances (and charms) in that. It is not reality that photographs make immediately accessible, but images. 173). Welcome back. The method especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic—Germans, Japanese, and Americans‘. (pg. ‘The most striking aspect of Arbus’s work is that she seems to have enrolled in one of art photography’s most vigorous enterprises concentrating on victims, on the unfortunate, but without the compassionate purpose that such a project is expected to serve. The other treats everything as the object of some present or future use, as matter for estimates, decisions, and predictions. ‘Unlike the fine-art objects of pre-democratic eras, photographs don’t seem deeply beholden to the intentions of an artist.

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