Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag is a slender volume that philosophizes on photography, specifically wartime photography with occasional discussions about other explorations of human atrocities.  Her opinions are well-written, clear with a sharp precision one can’t help but admire in writing.

Ultimately, as when anyone voices an opinion about things, she can be provocative if not downright contentious.  She even goes so far as to criticize her own previously published thoughts On Photography.  This is not to suggest that what she has to say is too mercurial to be relevant; rather, Sontag, who is not above heaping piles of judgment upon others, is just as comfortable in pointing a self-accusing finger at her own previously held beliefs.

Whether you agree or disagree with what she has to say, Sontag not only encourages her reader to think but seemingly urges the reader to do so, to come to their own conclusions and be open to second guessing and changes in once held precious beliefs.  At time courageous and perhaps outrageous, Sontag’s arguments are at least interesting enough to invite some serious discourse.

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