Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag starts by saying “Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato’s Cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth.” What do you think this means and do you think it is true? – Sontag writes on page 4: ” To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge- and therefore, like power.” Do you think this is true, for yourself, for journalists, for others? In what situations is it true or not? -On Page 9, Sontag writes, “A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it- by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir.” Do you think that taking photographs lessens the experience of travel or daily life? Think of examples where taking photos is refusing experience, but also think of examples where taking photos ameliorates experience. – On pagell, Sontag writes “photography is essentially an act of non-intervention”. In terms of photojournalism, is this a problem? Is it more important for the photojournalist to help the person in need or take the photograph? – On page 21, “The vast photographic catalogue of misery and injustice throughout the world has given everyone a certain familiarity with atrocity, making the horrible seem more ordinary- making it appear familiar, remote (it’s only a photograph) inevitable” Has this happened for you? If so, is there value in it- is it useful somehow- or is it just a bad thing? Does it necessarily make people unfeeling and uncaring? Do you think the violent images in film and television have added to people being anesthetized and inactive?