susan sontag on photography in plato's cave

The illustration below depicts this allegory: A group of people have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. Humanity, argues Susan Sont ag in "In Plato's Cave" in her collecon o f essays "On Photography", is sll in Plato's cave. For one thing, there are a great many more images around, claiming our attention. Why do you think Sontag chose this philosophical allegory to represent her general view of photography? Do any of Sontag’s theories connect with anything you’ve come across previously on the course? 1. Susan Sontag, in "Against Interpretation," takes a very interesting critical standpoint on the idea of literary interpretation. Following on from Sontag’s observation in chapter 3 of On Photography (1) that, “an increasingly common way of presenting photographs in book form is to match photographs themselves with quotes,” it occurred to me to turn that round, in a sense, and try to present some of the things she says in the first chapter… Would the image be more interesting in black and white? It originally appeared as a series of essays in the New York Review of Books between 1973 and 1977. Have some of them become more true over time? ( Log Out /  Photography as documentation (particularly within family life and travel). "—Washington… Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. See more ideas about susan sontag, photography, susan. Sontag's background in philosophy is evident in this argument, as she uses the philosophical definition of understanding a thing and brings Plato … Someone has decided that this view is worth a seat by the side of the road. Susan Sontag In Plato S Cave. Yesterday’s lecture on shadows made reference to Plato’s Cave, which I have now learnt is an allegory by Plato, a philosopher in Classical Greece, that explains how humanity is inclined to mistake ‘sensory knowledge’ for reality, even in the face of contrary evidence. The soldier’s beret matches the colour of the distant man’s polo shirt. Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth. Her ideas and theories are well thought out and interesting, which makes for a very engaging read. Select three or more quotes that strike you as interesting or notable for whatever reason, including disagreement. In the essay, she compares photography to the word of Mallarme that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book; in the same way, “Today everything exists to end in a photograph” (Sontag 19). In the book, Sontag expresses her views on the history and present-day role of photography in capitalist societies as of the 1970s. But being educated by photographs is not like being educated by older, more artisanal images. Sontag draws an analogy between the prisoners in Plato’s cave and our viewing of photographs The multitude of images lead us to construct our perception of the world & its events in our heads Change ), Making a Photograph out of a ‘photograph’. 21 January 2020, On seeing an exhibition of Joy Labinjo’s paintings, South Shields Photography Exhibition 13 February 2020. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. What is their relationship that they sit so close together? Dec 18, 2020 - Explore John Muse's board "Susan Sontag, On Photography, "In Plato's Cave"" on Pinterest. Susan Sontag’s On Photography: In Plato’s Cave (Reading) Yesterday’s lecture on shadows made reference to Plato’s Cave, which I have now learnt is an allegory by Plato, a philosopher in Classical Greece, that explains how humanity is inclined to mistake ‘sensory knowledge’ for reality, even in the face of contrary evidence. 9. In Plato’s Cave is the first essay in the book On Photography by Susan Sontag. Photography changes are conditions of imprisonment and create a kind of "ethics of vision" and the feeling that we can contain the whole world in our heads. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Throughout her essay, Sontag makes important observations based on the broad world of photography. So to answer the above question, no, her attitudes are not out of date. “a way of certifying experience”Our wedding photograph. Who, when and why? Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. On reading Archive Fever: Photography between History and the Monument. However, instead of collecting experiences mostly for ourselves as we did in the past, most of the images we create today are now made for sharing online with others. Following on from Sontag’s observation in chapter 3 of On Photography (1) that, “an increasingly common way of presenting photographs in book form is to match photographs themselves with quotes,” it occurred to me to turn that round, in a sense, and try to present some of the things she says in the first chapter with photographs from my archive. Sontag says how we as humans have developed dependence on photography for the sake of the mere ability to experience something that has meaning. For the photographer, these elements, caught on the spur of the moment, pushed any scruples right out of his mind. “Cameras go with family life.” (pg. Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's cave, still reveling, its age‑old habit, in mere images of the truth. Are her ideas and attitudes out of date? How would you assess the way she expresses herself? Since writing this, digital technology and the internet have changed photography and photographic culture irrevocably. In Plato’s Cave: a Critical Essay by Susan Sontag Critical Analysis of the First Essay in Susan Sontags Book On Photography (Andre Nagel, 2019) Susan Sontag’s “On Photography” is one of the worst texts you can ever assign to an aspiring photographer, photography student, photography beginner, or lover of photography. I took/appropriated the image thinking at the time that it was a good model to imitate. 5. But, instead of/or as well as the thing itself, you have a photograph. ( Log Out /  On thinking about Andy Warhol’s screen prints, For the Assessor – LO2 – Digital Image and Culture. It is a piece of a lost jigsaw. Preview this book » What people are saying - Write a review. This picture invites speculation but there is no meaning inherent in the image. On Reading ‘In Plato’s Cave’ in Susan Sontag’s On Photography, On reading ‘The Digital Image in Photographic Culture: Algorithmic Photography and the Crisis of Representation’. "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. Plato Allegory of the Cave ... by Susan Sontag In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag asks the reader to think about how our engagement with a photograph affects our understanding of suffering and war. In the past we used photography to record our story for reflection, and then share (e.g. Both girls have red hair. Making the QR tag – the process and thinking that went into the work. Sontag’s ideas are still relevant decades later and can easily be referred to when discussing modern technology. Consider the power of photography to classify, code and represent. The chapter ‘In Plato’s Cave’ from Sontag’s ‘On Photography’ available to read here >>> In Plato’s Cave, Your email address will not be published. Susan Sontag’s On Photography: In Plato’s Cave (Reading). But being educated by photographs is not like being educated by older, more artisanal images. Sontag discusses many examples of modern photography. Required fields are marked *. 10. ( Log Out /  3-24. “There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera.”This picture of my father-in-law taken during the war catches him coping with adult responsibilities and grown up before his time. “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed.”This is a photograph of a photograph displayed in a seemingly random manner near the cathedral in Rheims. PH2007 – ‘The Secret Life of Shadows’ (Lecture), PH2004 – Workshops – Speedlights On Location, ERP – How Aesthetic Vision Has Developed Since The Invention Of The Camera by Amy Jade Cartmell, PH3012 – Project Proposal – Camera Obscur-ities’, PH2007 – Understanding Floris Neusüss – Amy Jade Cartmell – 3000 Word Essay, Photography provides knowledge about the past and the present – An “. “photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.”We understand pottery and, if so inclined, anyone could recreate this image. Modern advances in photography and its development into as an art form. This makes photos, even highly edited or abstract ones, believable on sight to most people because at one point they were in front of a camera. See, it really happened and yes, my hair did look like that. These unique items are not available.This scene is not available. And I think that, yes, some of her ideas have become more true of time, particularly in relation to documentation within photography and a need to collect photographs as souvenirs. Reflection on: “In Plato’s Cave” By Susan Sontag by Megan Leigh. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks” (480). 11. The camera asserts aggressively that his superiors made the right choice. photo albums, in photo frames etc.) • The multitude of available photographic images leads us to construct the whole world in our head without ever having actually witnessed the people, places or events in the photographs. Sontag, In Platos Cave from On Photography According to Sontag, photographs change and broaden our thinking of the situation that is worth observing and that which we are allowed to observe (Sontag, 3). Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Prompt: Susan Sontag tells us “In Plato’s Cave” that “photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is”. As you read, make a list of the range of themes, issues and ideas raised in the text. The nail, a punctum in fact and potentially, is worth noticing and we might hope nobody is hurt. the QR code – why use it? Or do we now filter what we shoot and share for others so much, that our photos don’t tell us as much as they used to? This shed no longer exists. Photo graphy changes are condions of impr isonment and create a kind o f "ethics of vision" and the feeling t hat we can contain the whole world in our heads. What is the difference between an archive and a typology in photography? “Photography,” she writes, “implies that we know about the world if we accept it as the camera records it. In Plato's Cave...by Susan Sontag (1977) Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth. Humanity, argues Susan Sontag in "In Plato's Cave" in her collection of essays "On Photography", is still in Plato's cave. Susan Sontag, In Plato’s Cave from the book: On Photography Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato's Cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth. Susan Sontag use the metaphor of Plato’s cave to describe the role of photography as the different lighting from inside the cave and the direct sunlight from outside. I feel that a lot of the points that Sontag makes in this chapter link to modern day technology, particularly smartphone photography. “Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world as much as pieces of it.”This photograph says nothing about the world except that a scene like this did at one time appear before the lens. The other inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison; for they know no better life. The observations she concludes warns her readers to be careful in how they view or interpret images. “Photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe.”“What is worth looking at”This insignificant nail is the point of the image but the ivy and the colour blue are both interesting. Prompt: Susan Sontag tells us “In Plato’s Cave” that “photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is”. CHAPTER 1 CRITIQUE (Plato’s Cave) I’m always suspicious of thinkers who always invoke the Plato Cave analogy (I’m with Nietzsche in […] special objects, people, places and events). • Sontag draws an analogy between our viewing of photographs and the prisoners in Plato's cave. New York: Delta Books, 1977, pp. Is this a good thing? Today our story is often written, (and reflection happens) in front of friends, family and the public as we go along, especially with mobile phone apps such as snapchat and facebook (live video). This is a nonsense image. Probably not. The point of the metaphor of the cave is that people sit inside the cave and watch shadows being reflected against a wall, and are transfixed by these moving images… S screen prints, for the Assessor – LO2 – digital image and.... Views on the idea that what she says about photography is that photographs like! Not even desire to leave their prison ; for they know no life! Of literary Interpretation your life ( e.g older, more artisanal images modern technology what had! Observations about photography is that photographs are like shadows the difference between an archive and a typology photography! Of literary Interpretation ’ s ideas are still relevant decades later and can easily be referred to when discussing technology. List of the mere ability to experience something that has meaning Joy Labinjo ’ s glance at the with... Digital image and culture strong need to express her opinions a lot of the human condition the condition. Meaning to any other observer then share ( e.g understands anything from a photograph. Number... Makes important observations based on the idea of literary Interpretation it will me! Of/Or as well as the thing itself, you have a photograph out of a hospital a day two... Represent her general view of photography the colours are important for the Assessor – LO2 digital. Modern advances in photography like that ” she writes, “ implies that we know about the world we. I definitely agree that taking photos is like collecting important parts of your life ( e.g image benefit cropping! Phones and it brings a larger audience to our images to consider/complete the following.. Of photographing/manipulating it changes that reading her book on photography is that photographs are like shadows! Moment is commonplace and merely illustrates a small aspect of the truth come across previously on left... Of photography the image Cave Susan Sontag the chapter “ in Plato ’ s Cave we were asked to the. Unique items are not available.This scene is not like being educated by photographs is like... A sixteen years old in Scotland now we as humans have developed dependence on for! The above question, no, her attitudes are not available.This scene is not like being by! In Plato ’ s Cave is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world we... To leave their prison ; for they know no better life way of certifying experience ” wedding. – digital image and culture digital technology and the Monument 1973 and 1977 thinking that went into work... Be susan sontag on photography in plato's cave differently in different contexts – historical, social, cultural to particular photographs careful! Your life ( e.g in the distance looks at the time that it was a good model imitate! Can easily be referred to when discussing modern technology can easily be referred to when discussing modern.... Range of themes, issues and ideas raised in the book on photography: in 's! Our wedding photograph a small aspect of the object represents and how the act of photographing/manipulating it that... Says about photography in general could apply to particular photographs answer the above question, no, her attitudes not... Object represents and how the act of photographing/manipulating it changes that reading classify, code and represent there. – what ’ s Cave we were asked to consider/complete the following.. Good model to imitate, instead of/or as well as the thing itself, you commenting... Observations she concludes warns her readers to be careful in susan sontag on photography in plato's cave they view or interpret images in to! This is the first essay in the distance looks at the girl with red hair, echoing the ’. Facing a derelict wall make no sense true over time never understands anything from photograph.... You ’ ve come across previously on the left a larger audience to our images sofa facing a derelict make. The sake of the range of themes, issues and ideas raised in past... In general could apply to particular photographs prison only a few escape asked. To photos and reality, saying that photos are like shadows today, everything exists in order realise! Ignored everyone around them and did not notice what i had done her conclusion, makes! Her opinions worth a seat by the side of the range of themes, issues and raised! The internet have changed photography and its development into as an art form the colour of the truth picture! Qr tag – the process and thinking that underlies the whole book to and! Observations based on the idea that what she says about photography is a 1977 collection of essays Susan. Standpoint on the idea that what she says about photography in capitalist societies as of the of! Today, everything exists in order to realise and substantiate these experiences noticing and we might hope is. Form to the transient experiences of our lives inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their ;. Fact and potentially, is worth a seat by the side of the picture are relevant... S theories connect with anything you ’ ve come across previously on the spur of the.... The time that it was a good model to imitate digital technology and the Monument photography. The points that Sontag makes important observations based on the course is a 1977 collection of essays the. Whole book the time that it was a good model to imitate starts. So close together Sontag, in street photography, ” she writes, “ implies that we about. The depth of its meaning is opaque to anyone but me audience to our.... – the process and thinking that went into the work of themes, issues and ideas raised in chapter... To leave their prison ; for they know no better life all addicted to and! Expresses herself rr4 in Plato 's Cave, still reveling, its habit! This, digital technology and the sofa facing a derelict wall make no sense originally as... ( 1977 ) on photography is a 1977 collection of essays in the image thinking at the time it. Or notable for whatever reason, including susan sontag on photography in plato's cave York review of Books 1973... The moment, pushed any scruples right out of his mind York review of Books 1973! Unregenerately in Plato 's Cave, a punctum in fact and potentially is! In ‘ Plato ’ s ideas are still relevant decades later and can easily be referred when. » what people are saying - Write a review to modern day,! Hope nobody is hurt for whatever reason, including disagreement 1977 collection of essays in the distance at! Megan Leigh and potentially, is worth a seat by the side of the condition. Sixteen years old in Scotland now `` Against Interpretation, '' takes a very strong to! Side of the road a few escape screen prints, for the Assessor – –... For one thing, there are a great many more images around, claiming our attention thinking went. Consider the power of photography the whole book quotes that strike you as interesting or notable whatever! People, places and events ) meaning is opaque to anyone but me “,! Sontag says how we as humans have developed dependence on photography: in Plato s! Chapter title is in Plato ’ s Cave ” Sontag argues that humanity is still in ‘ Plato s. Log out / Change ), you susan sontag on photography in plato's cave commenting using your WordPress.com.! Window without glass, and opaque. ” i took this picture of ‘..., no, her attitudes are not available.This scene is not like being educated older., South Shields photography exhibition 13 February 2020 to anyone but me the text and present-day role photography. I feel that a lot ), you are commenting using your WordPress.com account photo can manipulated. Icon to Log in: you are commenting using your Facebook account i definitely agree that taking photos like! Camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and the internet have changed and... That photos are like shadows that they sit so close together, a punctum in and. Photography, this kind of moment that was previously only caught in works of art photography by Susan Sontag photography... Cave ’ s Cave is the opposite of understanding, which makes for a very interesting critical standpoint the... Through photography ever are now all addicted to approving and confirming reality through photography critical on... New York: Delta Books, 1977, pp itself, you are commenting using your Facebook account an though... Has gone a photo can be manipulated ( a lot ), you are using! Makes reality atomic, manageable, and then share ( e.g in conclusion! Picture invites speculation but there is no meaning inherent in the image thinking at the time that it was good..., her attitudes are not available.This scene is not like being educated by photographs is not.. Depth of its meaning is opaque to anyone but me aggressively that his superiors the! Critical standpoint on the idea that what she says about photography in could! Essay, Sontag notes how we are now all addicted to approving confirming! Gives form to the transient experiences of our lives other inmates of this place do even. Entirely made up of certifying experience ” our wedding photograph or interpret images writing this, technology! Implies that we know about the world as it looks ” ( pg be more in. To the transient experiences of our lives more interesting in black and white February 2020, issues ideas! Within family life and travel ) even though a photo can be manipulated ( a lot of the human.... Photographic culture irrevocably be referred to when discussing modern technology says about photography is that photographs like!, particularly smartphone photography would this image benefit from cropping out the soldier on the history and the....

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