155). ‘Surrealism in painting amounted to little more than the contents of a meagerly stocked dream world: a few witty fantasies, mostly wet dreams and agoraphobic nightmares‘. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the value of the people photographed. But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures.”. ‘The traditional fine arts rely on the distinction between authentic and fake, between original and copy, between good taste and bad taste; the media blur, if they do not abolish outright, these distinctions. 173). Like. 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. ‘Photographs, which turn the past into a consumable object, are a short cut. 55). (pg. (pg. ‘… like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. People who are bizarre, in sexual disgrace, emotionally vacant are seen daily on the newsstands, on TV, in the subways. Terms and conditions are here. ‘And no reality is exempt from appropriation, neither one that is scandalous (and should be corrected) nor one that is merely beautiful (or could be made so by the camera). 409 likes. (pg. 'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); All images and posts created by Mick Yates are copyrighted. 153). (pg 6). It can also corrupt them. 62). Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. (pg. 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. ‘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. 22). Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac's Paris. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed, For more than a century, photographers have been hovering about the oppressed, in attendance at scenes of violence with a spectacularly good conscience. And a change in appearances is a change in the person, for he refused to posit any ‘real’ person ensconced behind these appearances‘. Contextual Research ‘The freedom to consume a plurality of images and goods is equated with freedom itself‘. 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. - Susan Sontag. New York: Anchor Books. “That we are not totally transformed, that we can turn away, turn the page, switch the channel, does not impugn the ethical value of an assault by images. ‘But essentially the camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own‘. Quotations by Susan Sontag, American Author, Born January 16, 1933. Share with your friends. 178). (Everything is ‘real’) In fact, it has – like mainstream Surrealist taste itself – evinced an inveterate fondness for trash, eyesores, rejects, peeling surfaces, odd stuff, kitsch‘. I must take a photograph of it’. Even if someone did say that, all it would mean is: ‘I find that ugly thing … beautiful‘. Photography is a great hobby. 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. ', and 'Do stuff. Even though Sontag later refuted many of her own ideas, the remains influential. Anyone interested in the social roles of photography will find this book fascinating and thought-provoking. 557 likes. Once one has seen such images, one has started down the road of seeing more - and more. Her Dantesque vision of the city (and the suburbs) has no reserves of irony. “Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality...One can't possess reality, one can possess images--one can't possess the present but one can possess the past.”. It needs to furnish vast amounts of entertainment in order to stimulate buying and anesthetise the injuries of class, race, and sex. ‘Whereas the painter, according to Weston, has always ‘tried to improve nature by self-imposition’, the photographer has ‘proved that nature offers an endless number of perfect compositions’ – order everywhere‘. Find summaries for every chapter, including a On Photography Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget's Paris. Like. More Susan Sontag Quotes. (pg. To steel oneself against weakness. ‘The photographer both loots and preserves, denounces and consecrates. ‘By taking over the task of realistic picturing hitherto monopolized by painting, photography freed painting for its great modernist vocationist abstraction. Vroman’s handsome photographs are unexpressive, uncondescending, unsentimental. (pg. Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art‘. “All photographs are memento mori. Time, Moments, Photograph. (pg. ‘The whole of a life may be summed up in a momentary appearance. ‘Surrealism is a bourgeois disaffection; that its militants thought it universal is only one of the signs that it is typically bourgeois‘. 69). (pg. Their mood is the very opposite of the FSA photographs: they are not moving, they are not idiomatic, they do not invite sympathy‘. But photography’s impact on painting was not as clear-cut as that. 3 Surfaces & Strategies As everything she wrote, Susan Sontag's book on photography is brilliant. CHAPTER 1 CRITIQUE (Plato’s Cave) I’m always suspicious of thinkers who always invoke the Plato Cave analogy (I’m with Nietzsche in […] It connects you with others. Please respect the copyright of all external materials, used for educational purposes only. 147). ‘American photography implies a more summary, less stable connection with history; and a relation to geographic and social reality that is both more hopeful and more predatory‘. Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been - what people needed protection from. A touch of the finger now suffices to invest a moment with posthumous irony‘. Capitalist society requires a culture based on images. ‘To take a picture is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged (at least for as long as it takes to get a “good” picture), to be in complicity with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing—including, when that is the interest, another person’s pain or misfortune’. It is a set of essays on the "philosophy" of picture-taking and the meaning of photography in the modern (ca. Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. The other treats everything as the object of some present or future use, as matter for estimates, decisions, and predictions. Tweets by @mickyates Now all art aspires to the condition of photography‘. The less doctored, the less patently crafted, the more naive – the more authoritative the photograph was likely to be‘. As usual, when I am thinking of pursuing something, I turn to books. (pg. “Photographs were seen as a way of giving information to people who do not take easily to reading.” It is not a defect that we are not seared, that we do not suffer, “A capitalist society requires a culture based on images. In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects‘. ‘Photographs may be more memorable than moving images, because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow‘. G. Ballard’s novel Crash (1973) describes a more specialized collecting of photographs in the service of sexual obsession: photographs of car accidents which the narrator’s friend‘. 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. 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‘. ‘They kept a long, prudent distance from Surrealism’s contentious idea of blurring the lines between art and so-called life, between objects and events, between the intended and the unintentional, between pros and amateurs, between the noble and the tawdry, between craftsmanship and lucky blunders‘. 10). Susan Sontag – Quotes from ‘On Photography’. (pg. (pg. ‘In principle, photography executes the Surrealist mandate to adopt an uncompromisingly egalitarian attitude toward subject matter. (pg. In A Second Flowering (1973) and The Dream of the Golden Mountains (1980), Malcolm Cowley looked back at the writers between… Quotes from On Photography that I find particularly appropriate to my work are highlighted in colour. ‘Unlike the fine-art objects of pre-democratic eras, photographs don’t seem deeply beholden to the intentions of an artist. Books of photography pile higher and higher – measuring the lost past (hence, the promotion of amateur photography), taking the temperature of the present. (pg. Of course, this modern day was the 1970's, but many of the key elements described in the collection of essays still remain relevant. ‘Surrealism is the art of generalizing the grotesque and then discovering nuances (and charms) in that. 58). attention is vitality. 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. I applaud the fact that they ‘take a view’, rather than sitting on the sidelines. 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. "What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine." 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. It is not reality that photographs make immediately accessible, but images. It is now clear that there is no inherent conflict between the mechanical or naive use of the camera and formal beauty of a very high order‘. (pg. ‘For Lange every portrait of another person is a ‘self-portrait’ of the photographer, as for Minor White – promoting ‘self-discovery through a camera’ – landscape photographs are really ‘inner landscapes‘. Although much of Arbus's material is the same as that depicted in, say, Warhol's, “Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art.”, “As objects of contemplation, images of the atrocious can answer to several different needs. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. (pg. ‘Arbus wrote. (pg. (pg. “Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”. A modernist would have to rewrite Pater’s dictum that all art aspires to the condition of music. 167). Susan Sontag — "Photographic Evangels", p. 147 (pg. MA Photography, Falmouth University, A personal response to the Khmer Rouge Genocide of 1975-1979, Unfinished Stories of Cambodia, Falmouth MA CR Journal 21). ‘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). 149). 115). The scientists make an inventory of the world; the moralists concentrate on hard cases. FMP Final Submission, mick yates – portrait, events, documentary & street. I read a few articles about photography and finally, Susan Sontag’s superb essays On Photography. Susan Sontag was born in New York City on January 16, 1933. ‘Capitalist society requires a culture based on images. 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. ‘Surrealism lies at the heart of the photographic enterprise: in the very creation of a duplicate world, of a reality in the second degree, narrower but more dramatic than the one perceived by natural vision. (pg. ‘Some photographers set up as scientists, others as moralists. ‘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‘. “On Photographyis to my mind the most original and illuminating study of the subject.”—Calvin Trillin, The New Yorker. The forming image is sharp, trenchant - a good picture; but it isn't exactly the photo you had in your head. — "About Hodgkin," from Howard Hodgkin Paintings (1995), p. 109. ‘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‘. In this way, photography is an act of acquisition, not just interpretation or documentation. The photographer is supertourist, an extension of the anthropologist, visiting natives and bringing back news of their exotic doings and strange gear‘. FMP Project Proposal ‘Photography in Europe was largely guided by notions of the picturesque (i.e., the poor, the foreign, the time-worn), the important (i.e., the rich, the famous), and the beautiful. Images transfix. Susan Sontag’s fame was always paradoxical. ‘As Berenice Abbott writes: ‘The photographer is the contemporary being par excellence; through his eyes the now becomes past’. be clenched, curious. Quite frankly, I am not a fan of Susan Sontag. I hope they inspire you. An example of photography-as-science is the project August Sander began in 1911‘. 4). ‘… 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‘. ‘Photography has the unappealing reputation of being the most realistic, therefore facile, of the mimetic arts. Among these, she contrasts Diane Arbus's work with that of Depression-era documentary photography commissioned by the Farm Security Administration. ‘The immensely gifted members of the Farm Security Administration photographic project of the late 1930s (among them Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee) would take dozens of frontal pictures of one of their sharecropper subjects until satisfied that they had gotten just the right look on film—the precise expression on the subject’s face that supported their own notions about poverty, light, dignity, texture, exploitation, and geometry. It confirms both ideas of art ‘ unsure of other responses, they take a photograph is to in! In actuality, the more naive – the more naive – the more authoritative the photograph was likely be! 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