Susan Sontag: On Photography (6947 words)


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Susan Sontag’s On Photography (1977) began as a series of articles—most of them reviews of books of or about photography–that appeared in the New York Review of Books between 1973 and 1977. Though Sontag is obviously well acquainted with canonical figures in the history of the medium (Daguerre, Talbot, Cameron; Stieglitz, Weston, Lange; Abbot, Avedon, Penn), her immediate prompt was an exhibition of Diane Arbus photographs at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1972. Not far in the background, however, is the national trauma of America’s military involvement in Vietnam, of which Sontag was a passionate critic (see Nelson 106-09, Menand 689-90). Her experience in the anti-war movement may well …

Citation: Poague, Leland. "On Photography". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 September 2021 [, accessed 19 August 2022.]

3061 On Photography 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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