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On Photography – Book Review

On photography written by Susan Sontag is a very interesting and fresh take on photography. It seems that every sentence had it’s own meaning, giving you the reader a different thought about how society works, politics, history, and how all these things come together because of a camera lens. “To collect photographs is to collect the world” she says, her analysis on how  photography is part of the past, present, and future, as we can forever come back to the events of the past just by looking at a picture, it captures a moment being a biography of the past. Overall a beautiful picture is to be determine by the photographer, deciding the value of the picture, but the value of the image is forever trapped to be display by few, many or all.

The one thing I find most interesting in the book is the conversation between photography and painting. “Photography was painting’s mortal enemy” I find paintings to be great also but only captures what the artists is expressing then that’s it, while photography can give you a brief history of that moment captured saying “yes this did happen” its proof that sums up a picture. It’s a image that has life forever captured.

I would suggest to you that you would take your time reading this book as every sentence feels like something you should write down, you can find yourself a little lost on the history of different photographers and events she brings up, it can sometimes make you want to throw the book out the window. Overall I enjoyed the book, recommend to my classmates.



  1. Rob wrote:

    This sounds like a fantastic book, not just for simple photographic technique but it seems like there is a lot of commentary on the world that surrounds us — not just the art.

    I’m glad she touched on the connection between photography and painting, Susan last quarter talked a lot about correlating physical and mechanical art and how practicing one would make you particularly good at the other.. or at least give you the tools to see in a different way.

    Good recommendation, if I have time I’ll be sure to check this one out.

    Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  2. Jordan wrote:

    I agree with Rob, this sounds like a really great book! In working on my photography this quarter as well I can defiantly relate to her comment “To collect photographs is to collect the world”. Being able to capture the world in a beautiful light is a powerful great feeling that adds a lot of the value to photography for me.

    I’ll keep this book in mind!

    Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Jeremy Van Orman wrote:

    I’ve heard the debate that emerged between painting and photography when photography was first making it’s way. As I seem to approach art in two very specific ways, I find myself understanding each aspect of this argument. In a realist sense, photography is much less involved than oil painting. If you are trying to realistically depict images as they are, photography seems to be a very efficient medium for doing this whereas painting is much more involved. Yet, there are so many ways to experiment with photography that it is very much its own form of art.

    Monday, June 3, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink
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