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On Photographyby Susan Sontag
Sontag was good at pretty much everything related to language — she wrote novels, stories, plays, and memoirs. But the best of her efforts were her essays and critical writings. It's difficult to narrow down a single collection to represent her nonfiction work, which ranged from horror movies to encapsulating "camp" to exploring illness as metaphor. On Photography is one of her seminal works, wherein she redefines and examines ways of seeing, representation, and reality. As Sontag writes in the first essay, "In Plato's Cave," "To collect photographs is to collect the world," and On Photography radically expands our consciousness of what it is to live in such a place.
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticism.
One of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as “a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs.” It begins with the famous “In Plato's Cave”essay, then offers five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a fascinating and far-reaching “Brief Anthology of Quotations.”
"A brilliant analysis of the profound changes photographic images have made in our way of looking at the world and at ourselves over the last 140 years." Washington Post Book World
"Every page of On Photography raises important and exciting questions about its subject and raises them in the best way." The New York Times Book Review
"A book of great importance and originality....All future discussion or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies are now bound to begin with her book." John Berger
"Not many photographs are worth a thousand of [Susan Sontag's] words." Robert Hughes, Time
"After Sontag, photography must be written about not only as a force in the arts, but as one that is increasingly powerful in the nature and destiny of our global society." Newsweek
"On Photography is to my mind the most original and illuminating study of the subject." Calvin Trillin, The New Yorker
About the Author
Susan Sontag was the author of four novels, including In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction; a collection of stories; several plays; and seven works of nonfiction. She died in New York City on December 28, 2004.
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