Long Reads or why Susan Sontag is so 1980

Here’s a quote from her seminal text being written about on another website in 3 parts.

The surrealist’s search for ‘the other’ is ultimately no different from what motivates documentary photographers, who are little more than socio-economic tourists in other people’s lives: “The view of reality as an exotic prize to be tracked down […] marks the confluence of the Surrealist counter-culture and middle-class social adventurism.”

This is why I am always at odds with the label of documentarian, my work is more about poetics than social documents, the poetics of space, of place, of time.

4 thoughts on “Long Reads or why Susan Sontag is so 1980

  1. I still find myself occasionally explaining that to people who have somehow recently ‘discovered’ her; it gets tedious!


  2. Isn’t it wonderful that have moved on from treating Sontag as the bible of photography?! Her sanctimoniousness, pessimism and cynicism make one ask why on earth she would choose to write ‘On Photography’ if she loathed the medium so much. Her uninformed and deliberately antagonistic writings have dogged photography, particularly documentary photography, for far too long. I must say I found some sense in her remarks about 9/11 and wish she’s maintained her rage and saved her ink for politics rather than photography, about which she really knew so little…one must practice what one preaches!

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    1. Yet reading Robert Adams and reading about Lewis Baltz’s work and life yield a different intention to that of the curator of the exhibition does it not?\


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