OVERRIDE

On Photography

Susan Sontag

Picador

Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticism

One of the most acclaimed works 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.” The book begins with Sontag's famous “In Plato’s Cave” essay, then presents five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a richly far-reaching “Brief Anthology of Quotations.”

BOOK EXCERPTS

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On Photography
In Plato's Cave Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth. But being educated by photographs is not like being educated by older, more artisanal images. For one thing, there are a great many more images around, claiming our attention. The inventory started in 1839 and since then just about everything has been photographed, or so it seems. This very insatiability of the photographing eye changes the terms of confinement in the cave, our world. In teaching us a new visual code, photographs alter and enlarge our
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REVIEWS

Praise for On Photography

"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
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Susan Sontag

  • Susan Sontag is the author of four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover and In America; I, Etcetera, a collection of stories; several plays; and five works of nonfiction, among them Illness as a Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work.
  • Susan Sontag Mikhail Lemkhin
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On Photography

Susan Sontag

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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