April 25, Another quote from Susan Sontag

This time on Surrealism. For some time now I’ve considered myself a bit of a surrealist, so I found Sontag’s thoughts on surrealism to be quite interesting. I suspect most of my (four) readers have already read On Photography, nonetheless here’s a little more of it:

“The contingency of photographs confirms that everything is perishable; the arbitrariness of photographic evidence indicates that reality is fundamentally unclassifiable. Reality is summed up in an array of casual fragments-an endlessly alluring, poignantly reductive way of dealing the world. Illustrating that partly jubilant, partly condescending relationship to reality that is the rallying point of Surrealism, the photographers insistence that everything is real also implies that real is not enough. By proclaiming a fundamental discontent with reality, Surrealism bespeaks a posture of alienation which has now become a general attitude in those parts of the world which are politically powerful, industrialized, and camera wielding. Why else would reality ever be thought of as insufficient, flat, over ordered, shallowly rational? In the past, a discontent with reality expressed itself as a longing for another world. In modern society, a discontent with reality expresses itself forcefully and most hauntingly by the longing to reproduce this one. As if only by looking at reality in the form of an object-through the fix of the photograph-is it really real, that is surreal.”

-Susan Sontag,

On Photography

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