Review: On Photography


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On Photography
On Photography by Susan Sontag
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone wrote somewhere that this book would have been more adequately titled “Against Photography”. Though I wouldn’t disagree entirely, that commination is part of the kind of thought that Sontag magnificiently disarms throughout this book. It is the same kind of opositional logic that has proposed, since photography’s earliest days, if it could be considered art. As Sontag affirms, the question deserves no answer, for it confuses the medium with the purpose. The same way writing is used for compiling lists, archives, catalogues and also poetry, novels and masterful essays on other media, photography can be applied to the most varied enterprises, including but not limited to art.
In that sense, Sontag doesn’t write against photography: she criticizes the place photography was given in popular discourse. And in that respect, “On photography” is a great book for anybody with questions about the processes of socialization in our moment in history.

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