Friday, February 09, 2007

On Photography

Some would surely say 'well past due' but I finally have purchased Susan Sontag's collection of essays on Photography. It proves a great companion piece to 'Trace and Transformation' which I'd bought a few years ago.

I'll surely pester this blog with quotes as I read through (slow reader!) as snippet after snippet spring out.

"Surrealism lies at the heat 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. The less doctored, the less patently crafted, the more naive - the more authoritative the photograph was likely to be."

"In addition to romanticism (extreme or not) about the past, photography offers instant romanticism about the present. In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past but the one who invents it. As Bernice Abbot writes: 'The photographer is the contemporary being par excellence; through his eyes the now becomes past'."

"Photographs are, of course, artifacts. 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. Thus, they trade simultaneously on the prestige of art and the magic of the real. They are clouds of fantasy and pellets of information."

"As the fascination that photographs exercise is a reminder of death, it is also an invitation to sentimentality. Photographs turn the past into an object of tender regard, scrambling moral distinctions and disarming historical judgments by the generalized pathos of looking at time past."

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