in some other old thread we talked about reading books about photography. I then said I had just bought Susan Sontag’s classic book, Photography, which contains a few longer essays on the subject. Now I’ve struggled through it. Oddly, reading about photography doesn’t seem to be my thing — which is odd, considering that reading about something is usually my thing. It was, however, worth it, if nothing else so for this passage (sorry in advance for bad image quality):
I liked that. Very much. It seems so true to me. I also like how she says, in the second essay, ‘To photograph is to confer importance. There is probably no subject that cannot be beautifed; moreover, there is no way to suppress the tendency inherent in all photographs to accord value to their subjects.’ I think that’s true, too.
Basically, the book seems to me one third clever, one third nonsense and one third very clever nonsense. I, for one, am not sure what to make of sentences such as the following: ‘By disclosing the thingness of human beings, the humanness of things, photography transforms reality into a tautology.’ For all the things that did mean something — I’m not sure that means anything to me at all.
(I will now continue with Barthes.)