Listen free for 30 days

Listen with offer

£0.00 for first 30 days

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
On Photography cover art

On Photography

By: Susan Sontag
Narrated by: Jennifer Van Dyck
Try for £0.00

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £14.99

Buy Now for £14.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.
activate_primeday_promo_in_buybox_DT

Listeners also enjoyed...

Regarding the Pain of Others cover art
Where the Stress Falls cover art
Styles of Radical Will cover art
Against Interpretation and Other Essays cover art
Under the Sign of Saturn cover art
Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors cover art
Learning to See cover art
Photography for Beginners cover art
Seeing with Your Own Eyes cover art
The History of Jazz, Second Edition cover art
Philosophical Investigations cover art
DSLR Photography Advanced cover art
Reality Hunger cover art
The Fountainhead cover art
The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World cover art
The Art of Cruelty cover art

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.

Critic reviews

"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 listeners say about On Photography

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    81
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    71
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    70
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

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

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Photography , an interesting view.

Very interesting hearing about her view of photography without compassion,with out a photographers passion for the interesting beauty of surroundings.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Meditation On Photography

This collection of essays by Susan Sontag,on the cultural and philosophical history of photography,is a very personal view.Although I didn't agree with everything the Great American Intellectual said,what she said was worth listening to and caused me to see photography in a different light.Well worth listening to,with an excellent narration by Jennifer Van Dyck.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Monumental

This book is a brilliant and timeless exposition not only of photography but of art itself.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Still The Absolute Photography Bible

Although written 40 years ago On Photography is still the best and most insightful examination of photography and its place in the modern world yet written. As a professional photographer I am well aware of some of the myriad of possibilities photography is capable of. I am also aware how easy it is to be overwhelmed and get lost by the pure seduction of taking photographs. Reading On Photography allows me to re-emerge from the melee of being a photographer and to see clearly again what photography is and can be.

This most important photograph book is for anyone involved or interested in photography and its place in the world both as snap shot and art, which nowadays covers about everyone living in the world. It explains how and why photography remains the most powerful and relevant medium in the world today, which is why bit will remain so as long as people stay addicted to images.

Luckily the video camera and polaroid had been invented at the time of its writing On Photography so Sontag was able to discuss the instant imagery that is possible today on everyones phone. Its a shame Susan Sontag's not alive to give her thoughts on digital photography but as the nature of taking photographs has not changed with the new technology so On Photography has not dated.

For the last 30 years I re visit this book every few years and I am so grateful that I will now be able to listen to it too as well read it. Thanks Audible

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting book on photography

Despite taking only wildlife photos and landscapes myself, I found this enjoyable. Well narrated too.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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?

N/A

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!!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The classic book on photography

If you want to seriously study the form of photography then you have to read this book sooner or later. Make it sooner.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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?

No

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

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great to hear this in audio.

It's much easier to digest in audio form. I did a photography degree but you don't need that to read this just a keen interest in photography and the way we see the world as people.
It took me a while to get through though because it is such dense subject matter and I needed to take it a little at a time.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Dire

this book sounds like it is rear by a robot.
Also I think it was edited by a computer,so it misses crucial words in a sentence.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful