Get a free audiobook

On Photography

Written by: Susan Sontag
Narrated by: Jennifer Van Dyck
Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

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.

©2003 Susan Sontag (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No reviews are available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Deb
  • 2013-10-18

I'm Glad I Bought, Despite Some Negative Reviews

What three words best describe Jennifer Van Dyck’s voice?

Okay

Any additional comments?

I was concerned that this book would be negative about photography, based on some low star review(s). However, I think Sontag simply points out the many different points of views and backgrounds that photographers express through their work. I feel like Sontag is also giving a valuable history lesson of the leading photographers as well. She seems to also have admiration where she feels it's due, towards photography and photographers. After all, she was Annie Leibovitz's partner for over a decade, encouraged and admired her photography too. I agree with Sontag about both the negative and positive impact that photography can have. I'm glad I decided to listen. A good addition to my MA in photojournalism.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gene Bowker
  • 2014-08-02

one of the classics on photography

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is an easy listen and is one of the most important books on Photography

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hmm.. it is a selection of essays. The author (not a photographer) was able to write about how photography has influenced the world and been influenced

What about Jennifer Van Dyck’s performance did you like?

She has an easy voice to listen to

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Photography's influence on the world

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 2015-12-21

Fantastic, but would rather read.

If you could sum up On Photography in three words, what would they be?

Machine gun thoughts

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this, but I'd recommend getting a non-audiobook version of it. The cadence at which thought provoking sentiments are shared is just too much for an audiobook. You'll want to re-read lines, see names, etc. It's well performed though, if a little monotonous.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Suzanne
  • 2017-02-02

Deep

I enjoyed it very much--took me right back to my graduate studies and the sheer enjoyment of disciplined scholarly analysis and the "weighing and considering" of insights that spring forth. I will listen to it again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • K. Sadira Dorran
  • 2019-08-17

A Good Exploration of the Subject of 20th Century Photography

This useful volume captures the period of the development of photography from early daguerreotypes up to the 1970s’ prolific use of photography in everyday households and in fine art.

I was particularly impressed with her coverage of and quotes by Edward Weston regarding his series of photos depicting the elegant grace of toilets, although I wonder if he made these with (more than) a touch of humor- humor was not sufficiently addressed, in my opinion, although wartime photos and their makers were. But how can we endure such keen awareness of humanity’s horrors without also appreciating both the truth and humor in images such as Weston’s toilets? Perhaps at the time this volume was written, Dechamp’s Dadaist urinal (presented shockingly as sculpture in his day, breaking through former definitions of art) was so famous that the parallels and humor were understood and implicit, although to neglect to mention Dadaism’s relationship with photography and indubitable influence on Weston’s series seems a great oversight from the perspective 2019 offers.

To be clear, this book is a wonderful introduction to the history and importance of photography, but was written before the advent of digital photography or the internet, so is far from current research or commentary.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • elizabeth mccracken
  • 2019-03-09

Sontag rocks!

I love this book and Sontag’s brilliant mind. I am not crazy about the speed and cadence at which Jennifer reads this material.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JoBo
  • 2018-05-26

A picture is worth...,

I found Ms Sontag’s work to be an erudite, informative,historically illuminating journey through the mechanical, Intellectual and artistic processes that reside, sometimes uneasily, under the broad mantel;PHOTOGRAPHY. Well written and wonderfully narrated!! Thank you from a rank amateur photographer!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • yoguinha
  • 2018-05-19

An Essential Book on Photography

This book has deeply impacted me many years ago and has become a constant reference. I find myself going back to Susan Sontag’s profound text over and over again. This is the first time I hear it in audio form and I thought it was very good. Narration is clear, paused and deliberate so that it is easy to listen to and follow the complex thoughts and reflect as you go. If you are a photography lover or interested in philosophy and contemporary issues Sontag’s essays won’t disappoint.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sandman
  • 2018-04-14

Truly insightful and definitive non-fiction book

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

This is one of the best books around if your interested in some incredibly penetrating thoughts about photography, its history and its place in the modern world. A minor downside is that its a bit old and doesn't deal with some new issues in photography.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It's non-fiction so no exciting finale other than people are still taking photos 😎

What about Jennifer Van Dyck’s performance did you like?

Straightforward and good for the long haul

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This is one non-fiction book that wouldn't make a good film.

Any additional comments?

Susan Sontag was brilliant. I wish she had lived to comment on what's going on with photography now.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MER
  • 2017-07-16

Fantastic

The informational approach to the subject is told with such a great literary style that simply captures the audience's mind , concise and classic, perfect pace and tone for the subject, love every bit of it.