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Background: Susan Sontag was a famous essay writer as well as an experimental novelist, short story writer, film writer, director, and photographer. Her work. Susan Sontag: On Photography; America: Seen Through Photographs, Darkly It was stressed by Sontag to compare Diane Arbus’ Woman With a Veil on Fifth Avenue and Lartigue’s Racecourse at Nice America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly As Susan Sontag observed in her essay – which gives its title to that of the conference – the work of many of the.

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While the Whitman heritage strove for a universalization of the human condition, Arbus fractured this unity into isolated fragments of anxiety. Arbus seems to have focused more on the experience of the photographer than on the actual subject of the photograph.

Notify me of new comments via email. Get On Photography from Amazon. Copyrights On Photography from BookRags.

At one point, Sontag describes Arbus’ ideology as viewing the photographer as a kind of “supertourist,” only briefly visiting the world of the weird and not attempting to give throkgh any context within the rest of society.

Being attracted to the subject is different than being attracted to a photograph. There is obviously a clash of misunderstanding going on and not a willingness to open up to each other.

Sontag discusses how several things are that are suppressed in our society later become integrated into our society images of death and dying, for example. The essay focuses on the effects of photographs on the perceived importance of their subjects. It is clear that Sontag knows Arbus’ work well. Stieglitz wished to transcend differences between human being and show humanity in the totality of its beauty.

It seems to me that art might be a vehicle for the suppressed to become an accepted part of society. Arbus was reacting against the status quo in all senses: Keep up the good work! The thrill of observing Arbus’s work is the success of observing them without impedance. So first I’d like to discuss this chapter and how Sontag describes whether photography is a private vision versus a reflection of reality.


Whitman’s view was challenged and, the text argues, entirely defeated, mostly by accident, by photography. Sontag’s assessment of Arbus’ work is comprehensive in scope. In one of her personal writings, Arbus mentioned that people immediately focus on flaws when viewing others as a reason for her choice of subjects.

This section contains words approx. Susan Sontag describes how photography shifted from ‘showing identity between things which are different Whitman’s democratic vista to images where everybody is shown to look the same’. About Me michele jefferys View my complete profile. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!

The whole thing is basically one big summary with an “I don’t like this” thrown in at the end.

Schmidt Talk: “America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly” -Susan Sontag

She extensively uses Arbus’ photographs as an example, as Arbus focused on photographing “ugly” subjects a few of Arbus’ photographs are shown tgrough. But as photography developed more and more artistic interest was directed to the less-glorified, banal and casual aspects of Sintag life, the realization Whitman’s vision. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Sontag noted that once people see things they aren’t used to enough, they become desensitized.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. In other words, photography has gradually equalized all of the things it depicts so that beauty can be found in any image. Susan Sontag describes Arbus way of photography as a colonization of new experiences, finding a new way to look at familiar subjects, a fight against boredom. Whitmanesque thinking applied towards photography contends that photographs that are not of inherently beautiful subjects are more meaningful, because the beauty in them must be searched for.

Newer Post Older Post Home. Even pain and terrible atrocities are presented in the same way, as ‘Art that is a self willed test of hardness’ High art in capitalist countries is there ‘to surpres, or at least reduce moral and sensory queasiness.


It’s about not avoiding what is considered low. I find Susan Sontag’s drkly very striking.

Susan Sontag: On Photography; America: Seen Through Photographs, Darkly

What are my inner drives and convictions to take photographs and how much do I let these drives rule the outcomes, or am I still working from other people’s examples, or ideas of how photos are supposed to qmerica taken? Order our On Photography Study Guide. But this importance varies in culture and history, from the pursuit of “worthy” subjects to the Andy Warhol stance of “anybody is somebody”.

Knowing too much about the latter can cloud appreciation of the former. Browse all BookRags Study Guides.

About Me greatsofthewest View my complete througb. Isn’t it that the most important aspect of her photography was to get the subjects to look weird, estranged? You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Whitman wanted to see all of humanity as a homogeneous whole, welded together by commonality instead of separated by superficial distinctions. Who are the REAl freaks? The price of this shift is that photography does not serve as ‘a liberation, but as a subtraction from the self’. For example, the boy might have just been frightened while playing outside, giving him the awkward smile and unkept appearance. Arbus chose to photograph only people and things that were seemingly out of the ordinary such as the woman in the wheelchair with the mask or the boy with the awkward smile.

Thompson, Van Gogh and everyone else who ended their lives leaving behind an admirable body of work. With Lartigue, the women are staring off into the distance and sort of romanticized and implied as being beautiful even though their faces are not shown in the photograph.