Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/08[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]
From what I've read, there seem to be at least two major schools of thought on the Sontag issue. One may either consider a work of art (including photographs, of course) in the context in which they were made (the biography of the artist, the conditions under which he/she worked, etc.); or one may consider the work by itself, in isolation, without knowledge or interest of what the artist's intent was. Both views have their merits and shortcomings. Here are a few: In the former view, there is an open invitation to "photo snobs" (e.g. "she doesn't know shit about photography/she's only a critic writing for the literati..."). There is, however, merit in understanding the background of the photo, especially if it is enlightening to the subject matter (like certain famous war photos or those with historically significant themes). The more important view, in my opinion, is the latter. In employing this perspective, we may be better equiped to view photographs as history will likely view all things eventually--with dim recognition of the lives of the participants, and almost none but the most arcane of interests in what equipment was employed. In brief, taken in its isolated state, a photograph must speak for itself. It may be worth considering the viewpoints of Sontag and Barthes, because of the way they illustrate the way photos impart meaning to the observer. It is far more beautiful to watch a thing grow and evolve through time (like the the menaing of a photograph), than it is to sit in the presence of the tyrannical, unchanging "intent" of the artist. Just because Sontag is not a photographer does not mean she is not human. It does not mean she lacks a valid perspective. After all, all art needs at least two people to define it: the artist and the observer. _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com. Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at http://profiles.msn.com.