Quotations From SUSAN SONTAG


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  • As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. author. On Photography, ch. 1 (1977).

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  • ... one of art photography's most vigorous enterprises—[is] concentrating on victims, on the unfortunate—but without the compassionate purpose that such a project is expected to serve.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. author. On Photography, ch. 2 (1977). Sontag was referring to contemporary art photography in general but also had specifically in mind the work of Diane Arbus (1923-1971), who focused largely on "freaks and pariahs."
  • To photograph is to confer importance.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. author. On Photography, ch. 2 (1977).
  • In the final analysis, "style" is art. And art is nothing more or less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "On Style," Against Interpretation (1966).
  • ... the most grandiose result of the photographic enterprise is to give us the sense that we can hold the whole world in our heads—as an anthology of images.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. author. On Photography, ch. 1 (1977).

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  • Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Imagination of Disaster," Against Interpretation (1966).
  • It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph—only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Heroism of Vision," On Photography (1977).
  • The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Heroism of Vision," On Photography (1977).
  • The problems of this world are only truly solved in two ways: by extinction or duplication.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Dummy," I, Etcetera (1978).

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  • The love of the famous, like all strong passions, is quite abstract. Its intensity can be measured mathematically, and it is independent of persons.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. The Benefactor, ch. 9 (1963).

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