Susan Sontag
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1977, English
Nonfiction, Photography
ISBN: 9780374226268

From the Publisher (Penguin reprint, 2008). Susan Sontag’s groundbreaking critique of photography asks forceful questions about the moral and aesthetic issues surrounding this art form. Photographs are everywhere. They have the power to shock, idealize or seduce, they create a sense of nostalgia and act as a memorial, and they can be used as evidence against us or to identify us. In six incisive essays, Sontag examines the ways in which we use these omnipresent images to manufacture a sense of reality and authority in our lives.


On 3 book lists
Ian Ritchie

As with Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media, this book appealed because I thought that it would offer insights into our society and the emergence of a “thin” world where image (not content, argument, or even words) was becoming the dominant cultural expression. It did not disappoint.

Véronique Vienne
 . . . Published in 1977 as a collection of essays reprinted (in a slightly different form) from The New York Review of Books, On Photography is a prophetic book whose chilling analysis describes the way photography, more than ever, mediates our experience of reality but also controls it. Webcams, iPhones, video-conferencing, Skype conversations, surveillance cameras, intimate pictures showing up on Facebook (just to name some of the phenomena that define our time), are evidence that “through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, freestanding particles; and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers.” . . . View the complete text
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