On Photography by Susan Sontag
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Updated review, 2017:
One of my favourite books ever, and one of a few I've read more than once. I tend to come back to Sontag again and again, which is somewhat ironic, as I don't do a lot of photography nor do I have a deep interest in it, though on the other hand, I am (as, apparently, the whole industrialised society is) an image-junkie.
The book becomes only more relevant with time, as we produce and consume more and more imagery. I would have loved to see what Sontag had to say about cell-phone camera's, the new genre of selfies, and social media overflown with glimpses of our private lives, or at least carefully curated pseudo-happy representations of it. I can only wonder.
Original review, 2012
Absolutely loved this book from the first page to the very end - good weekend read for those like me who can not photograph and who hardly could appreciate good photography without additional knowledge. Book is beautifully written - no 'smart' technical terms, no historic facts for historic facts sake, just pure Sontag: no sentence without a meaning, nothing you could add or take out. A lot of introductions into smaller aspects of a whole genre concluding with a lot of very clear conclusions makes it easier to learn new things and sometimes even makes one smile; for example among portrait photography, war photography, commercial photography Sontag did not forget to analyze tourist photography or family photography as a contemporary ritual. It is not a "how to" book, it is not a history of photography, but a deeper look to what photography actually is and what it gave to society and to an individual. Most amazing thing is that first Sontag's essays on photography were written in early 70's before social media and internet, but every word still resonates with contemporary society.
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