tPP57: Looking at Sontag’s On Photography Part 2

Hosted by Daniel j Gregory

April 11, 2016

Episode Number:

In this Episode


In part 2 of our podcast on Susan Sontag On Photography we take a look at some of the other key themes in the text. While each essay focuses on a central theme, many of her core concepts and principles are dominate across the entire text. In this podcast, I focus on a few of the key concepts that I think most photographers could pull out of the text and find useful in understanding their workIn particular we focus on the following concepts:

  1. Everything in the world can be the subject of a photograph, but just because you point a camera at it doesn’t make it interesting.
  2. Photographs are fragments at best. They represent framing fragments, time fragments and contextual fragments. In many ways they become like quotes in a book. In the context and understanding of the text, they make sense, but when remove from their context and source they can often times take on a new meaning.
  3. Photography is based in surrealism and defends this position with three key tenants:
    1. Photographs are duplicates of the world.
    2. Although duplicates of the world, they are easily enhanced (manipulated) by the photographer to change meaning.
    3. Intention is not present in the work and that the relationship between the photographer and object is more co-operative in nature and mediated in dialog by a machine.
  4. Photography is lacking in a cohesive structure and language to understand photographs. This, I believe, is because photography has so many sub-groups that it is difficult to use a single cohesive model to understand all photography. Rather, we should start to look at photography as defined and understood by it’s sub-groups.

Photoshop World 2016

I an also so excited to be an instructor at Photoshop World 2016 this summer in Las Vegas. I am teaching four classes and I would love to see you down there this July. You can find more information over at

If you subscribe to the Perceptive Photographer up on in iTunes, I would love to hear some feedback or have you take a few minutes for you to do a quick review up on iTunes it can help others learn about the show.

Affiliate Links

This website may use affiliate links. This means when you purchase something through links marked as affiliate links (usually noted by a *), I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I personally use or have tested.

Revealing Your Photography Personality through F-Stops

A tale of distractions

In episode 481 of the Perceptive Photographer, we dig into the different sides of distractions and how they can be both a benefit sometimes and a negative other times.