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4.2 out of 5 stars
61
4.2 out of 5 stars
On Photography
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on 20 May 2017
Classic text on photography to read again and again. If you want think think more about photography and what it means and how it works aesthetically and in society this is a must.
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on 4 March 2016
This is the world of the 1960s and '70s when paper print photographs seemed to be everywhere and yet were in fact few and far between compared to the ubiquitous image creation and retention of the digital era. Nonetheless, the modern reader can easily comprehend the technical, psychological, social and artistic embedding of photography that Sontag offers on these pages. Highly perceptive, succinct, sensitive analysis of visual image reproduction which had come into its own during the interwar years and defined how we watched the world right up to the appearance of the digital camera at the dawn of the new millennium.
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on 7 October 2017
A good book for A level or college students, I was made to read this straight from school but have come back to it several times throughout my education and research practice. This is a good book to understand the direction of which you what to go in a historical context, simple and to the point as I mentioned in the title essential for any early photography student.

There is a reason why there are​ so many editions.
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on 2 May 2016
Still an essential read, making deeply insightful and intellectually sharp points but can be a real endeavour to get through what feels like a generous amount of deliberate mystification in terms of language and communication. If, for example, you admire the clarity and concisely meaningful style of John Berger/Ways Of Seeing, this might feel like more of an uphill struggle.
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on 7 September 2017
A classic book on the theory of photography. Not the easiest read but seems to
be a must for serious photographers.
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on 1 January 2009
I'm in my first year of a photography degree and this is one of the recommended texts. Despite being released in the 70's it's still very relevant.

The book is essentially a series of essays by Sontag. It's value is that Sontag knows her subject extremely well and, with reference to the great photographers, has constructed her essays in a way that really make you contemplate what photography is all about. Sontag was not a photographer herself so it's not a book of technique; it's about the interpretation and appreciation of other's work. If you're new to photographic theory as I was/am it may very well make you feel quite ignorant, as if you don't even know what a photograph really is any more. However, that's the point; to make you think. This most ubiquitous medium is now so common its almost unnoticed but the book gets under the skin of what photography is and why photographs are so appealing. It's not the easiest or lightest reading but conversely the essays are not over long.

If you're studying photography or art or are simply interested in more philosophical views on the subject I'd highly recommend this to open up new ways of thinking.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 September 2015
I have known about this book for decades but have avoided it as I always through it to be too much like a text book and highbrow. To be frank I would say that this is not a book to be read by a beginner in photography but if you do want to read why photography is a welcomed art and is valued then this book is the one to read.

it is well written though it can get somewhat tied up in jargon and I do wish it was in more plain english. But it is inspiring and interesting and when I started to read I really did wish to want to continue.

I have been a photographer for over 40 years and I know most of the well known and some less well known photographers but the book throws new light on the photographers I thought I knew and explains. like an artists painting, what the point of the image is and its impact.

I have this in both hardback and Audile versions and Will continue to delve into the book. On the downside, besides the cover there are no images in the book so when the book was initially published in the 1970s it would have been somewhat difficult to research the images and photographs Susan Sontag refers to. Now with the internet its a doddle and in so in may ways helps you appreciate even more the essays of the author.
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on 9 August 2016
this book is on the reading list for my degree course and i am dreading being asked to write about it.
i find it dry, with unnecessarily long sentences and constant references to other artists and photographers and their work. read one essay and felt i should start reading it again with a notebook and pen to mark down all the names and look them up later! for references this book is great.
but i cannot manage the writing style, i'm used to reading books this size in a day or two but i am only half way through this one after a week. sontag writes her opinion as fact and warbles on so much you loose the jist of the sentence. in addition to this i don't feel like i am learning very much aside from peoples names.. many of the statements made that could be considered interesting i have heard before and in a more concise way.
i can see why this book is so praised, i suppose, but would not be reading it if i didn't have to.
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on 30 July 2017
This was my first foray into an academic text on photography which I have found almost unreadable.

Street photography has been a hobby of mine for just over a year and I thought that it may be a good idea to read into the theory of photography from a moral and social viewpoint, however this critique of photographers and artists is annoyingly convoluted hasn't helped my understanding of the subject at all.

I've found writings by artists themselves (such as those by Henri Cartier-Bresson) to be much more enlightening with regards to the reasons and appoaches photographers take on capturing their subjects. I'm not so familiar with Diane Arbus and am hesitant to take Sontag's interperation of her motives as gospel before first hearing Arbus explain them herself.

This book is exactly the reason I tend to avoid theoretical writing about creative arts. It feels snobbish and pretentious.
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on 28 January 2017
An accomplished concise work of authoritative genius on a grossly undervalued artform that is as relevant now as when it was written.
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