"New forms in art are created by the canonization of peripheral forms. "
Quote by Viktor Shklovsky in Susan Sontag's "On Photography"
This 1977 book of essays came back on my radar for two reasons
i. The New York magazine article on the financial troubles of Annie Liebovitz invoked it as being required reading in college courses. Susan Sontag was Annie Liebovitz's partner.
ii. The fact that every morning, when I leave my building, Broad Street is clogged with hundreds of tourists of all ages and sizes madly snapping away with digital cameras of all shape and sizes.
It makes you wonder where as an image culture we might be headed when we are all moving behind the camera lens, even in our own innate and colloquial way.
The other aspect of what makes this book so quintessential to any modern library is the irony that as required reading in most academic courses about photography, the ideas expressed here have become incredibly influential among a whole generation of visual artists. Or as Michael Starenko, summarizes perfectly in Afterimage magazine :
"On Photography has become so deeply absorbed into this discourse that Sontag's claims about photography, as well as her mode of argument, have become part of the rhetorical 'tool kit' that photography theorists and critics carry around in their heads."