Susan Sontag’s comments on photography are so penetrating!

     For those hard-working people, taking pictures enthusiastically on vacations means to appease the anxiety of not working. They are supposed to have fun on vacation, so they take pictures, which is a friendly imitation of work.

     For a family, not to take pictures of one’s children, particularly when they are small, is a sign of parental indifference, just as not turning for one’s graduation picture is a gesture of adolescence rebellion. We like to take pictures of kids when they are so small and cute. That’s to record the youth and vigor which will fade away with the passage of time.

     The same thing with taking pictures of a beautiful landscape. We record the space which we do not possess, so that later, when we look at the picture, it is as if we owned the fantastic sight there. Everything shot by cameras is our belongings. Therefore, to record is to possess; taking pictures is nothing more than a gesture to claim the ownership of space and time.    

     For most people, photography is not practiced as an art. it is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power. Having a camera has transformed a person into something active, a voyeur! The adjustable lens of a camera are just like the penis of a male---to extend and to shot is to invade. How terribly true it is!!

sontag

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