Friday, April 13, 2007

On Photography

from Susan Sontag's seminal essay On Photography

"To collect photographs is to collect the world."

photo by Thomas Wrede

"Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern. Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood."

photo by Thomas Wrede

"Photographs, which fiddle with the scale of the world, themselves get reduced, blown up, cropped, retouched, doctored, tricked out."

photo by Thomas Wrede

"Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth. But being educated by photographs is not like being educated by older, more artisanal images. For one thing, there are a great many more images around, claiming our attention. The inventory started in 1839 and since then just about everything has been photographed, or so it seems. 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." read on Susan Sontag's seminal essay On Photography

i stumbled upon Sontag's essay through this article and via personism

and new-art essey


Nathan said...

I've never pinpointed my fascination with vintage photos, but maybe I'm just 'collecting the world' as Susan Sontag said. These really light ones remind me of the work of Julia Christe:

She did a series of white sands photos I think you'll like.

Moon River said...

i don't think Susan Sontag was aiming mostly to vintage photos, but to the act of "photography-as-art". seperating it from amateur photos, and in her words: "Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience".

Mor said...

Her quote that I use whenever I give a lecture is "everything [in the world] exists to end up in a photograph". Which is just so true in our days of Flickr, Webshots, camera-phones,...

Livia Salome Gnos said...

... and which is valid for any photograph - not only for art

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