On Photography

  • by Susan Sontag
  • Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck
  • 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

First published in 1973, this is a study of the force of photographic images, which are continually inserted between experience and reality. Sontag here develops further the concept of "transparency". When anything can be photographed, and photography has destroyed the boundaries and definitions of art, a viewer can approach a photograph freely, with no expectations of discovering what it means. This collection of six lucid and invigorating essays, with the most famous being "In Plato's Cave", make up a deep exploration of how the image has affected society.


What the Critics Say

"A brilliant analysis of the profound changes photographic images have made in our way of looking at the world and at ourselves over the last 140 years." ( The Washington Post Book World)
"Every page of On Photography raises important and exciting questions about its subject and raises them in the best way." ( The New York Times Book Review)
" On Photography is to my mind the most original and illuminating study of the subject." (Calvin Trillin, The New Yorker)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An excellent essay on photography

What did you like most about On Photography?

I have known about this book for decades but have avoided it as I always through it to be too much like a text book and highbrow. To be frank I would say that this is not a book to be read by a beginner in photography but if you do want to read why photography is a welcomed art and is valued then this book is the one to read.

it is well written though it can get somewhat tied up in jargon and I do wish it was in more plain english. But it is inspiring and interesting and when I started to read I really did wish to want to continue.

I have been a photographer for over 40 years and I know most of the well known and some less well known photographers but the book throws new light on the photographers I thought I knew and explains. like an artists painting, what the point of the image is and its impact.

I have this in both hardback and Audile versions and Will continue to delve into the book. On the downside, besides the cover there are no images in the book so when the book was initially published in the 1970s it would have been somewhat difficult to research the images and photographs Susan Sontag refers to. Now with the internet its a doddle and in so in may ways helps you appreciate even more the essays of the author.

Who was your favorite character and why?


What does Jennifer Van Dyck bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

She makes me imagine she is Susan Sontag.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nope, its a text book!!!

Any additional comments?

Shame there can be no images!!

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- Pete Lachaise

hard going

What made the experience of listening to On Photography the most enjoyable?

This is a must read book for those interested in photography. This is not a book to listen to that will tell you how to improve your photography. This is a book that relays the style and the setting out of photographers and their work. This is of interest but I found the narrator somewhat aggravating with no real passion for what she was reading.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Bring more passion into the reading of the subject!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

I've given it three stars, which should of been a 5 as this is an important book in terms of photographic background

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- Paul

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-09-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios