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Abraham Lincoln

Susan Sontag Quotes

Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was an American writer and filmmaker, professor, literary icon, and political activist. Beginning with the publication of her 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp'”, Sontag became an international cultural and intellectual celebrity. Her best known works include On Photography, Against Interpretation, The Way We Live Now, Illness as Metaphor, Regarding the Pain of Others, The Volcano Lover and In America.
Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and communism and leftist ideology. Her often provocative essays and speeches sometimes drew criticism. The New York Review of Books called her “one of the most influential critics of her generation.”





1. TO TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH IS TO PARTICIPATE IN ANOTHER PERSON’S MORTALITY, VULNERABILITY, MUTABILITY. PRECISELY BY SLICING OUT THIS MOMENT AND FREEZING IT, ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TESTIFY TO TIME’S RELENTLESS MELT.
2. I ENVY PARANOIDS; THEY ACTUALLY FEEL PEOPLE ARE PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM.
3. INTELLIGENCE IS REALLY A KIND OF TASTE: TASTE IN IDEAS.
4. THE LIFE OF THE CREATIVE MAN IS LEAD, DIRECTED AND CONTROLLED BY BOREDOM. AVOIDING BOREDOM IS ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT PURPOSES.
5. THE CAMERA MAKES EVERYONE A TOURIST IN OTHER PEOPLE’S REALITY, AND EVENTUALLY IN ONE’S OWN.
6. TRAVEL BECOMES A STRATEGY FOR ACCUMULATING PHOTOGRAPHS.
7. SILENCE REMAINS, INESCAPABLY, A FORM OF SPEECH.
8. SANITY IS A COZY LIE.
9. WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL IN VIRILE MEN IS SOMETHING FEMININE; WHAT IS MOST BEAUTIFUL IN FEMININE WOMEN IS SOMETHING MASCULINE.
10. THE ONLY INTERESTING ANSWERS ARE THOSE THAT DESTROY THE QUESTIONS.
11. THE TRUTH IS BALANCE. HOWEVER THE OPPOSITE OF TRUTH, WHICH IS UNBALANCE, MAY NOT BE A LIE.
12. ANY CRITIC IS ENTITLED TO WRONG JUDGMENTS, OF COURSE. BUT CERTAIN LAPSES OF JUDGMENT INDICATE THE RADICAL FAILURE OF AN ENTIRE SENSIBILITY.
13. A FAMILY’S PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM IS GENERALLY ABOUT THE EXTENDED FAMILY AND, OFTEN, IS ALL THAT REMAINS OF IT.
14. AS PHOTOGRAPHS GIVE PEOPLE AN IMAGINARY POSSESSION OF A PAST THAT IS UNREAL, THEY ALSO HELP PEOPLE TO TAKE POSSESSION OF SPACE IN WHICH THEY ARE INSECURE.
15. DEPRESSION IS MELANCHOLY MINUS ITS CHARMS – THE ANIMATION, THE FITS.
16. IN AMERICA, THE PHOTOGRAPHER IS NOT SIMPLY THE PERSON WHO RECORDS THE PAST, BUT THE ONE WHO INVENTS IT.
17. INTERPRETATION IS THE REVENGE OF THE INTELLECTUAL UPON ART.
18. VICTIMS SUGGEST INNOCENCE. AND INNOCENCE, BY THE INEXORABLE LOGIC THAT GOVERNS ALL RELATIONAL TERMS, SUGGESTS GUILT.
19. I WAS NOT LOOKING FOR MY DREAMS TO INTERPRET MY LIFE, BUT RATHER FOR MY LIFE TO INTERPRET MY DREAMS.
20. MOST PEOPLE IN THIS SOCIETY WHO AREN’T ACTIVELY MAD ARE, AT BEST, REFORMED OR POTENTIAL LUNATICS.
21. BOOKS ARE FUNNY LITTLE PORTABLE PIECES OF THOUGHT.
22. LYING IS AN ELEMENTARY MEANS OF SELF-DEFENSE.
23. ALTHOUGH NONE OF THE RULES FOR BECOMING MORE ALIVE IS VALID, IT IS HEALTHY TO KEEP ON FORMULATING THEM.
24. LIFE IS NOT SIGNIFICANT DETAILS, ILLUMINATED BY A FLASH, FIXED FOREVER. PHOTOGRAPHS ARE.
25. ‘CAMP’ IS A VISION OF THE WORLD IN TERMS OF STYLE – BUT A PARTICULAR STYLE. IT IS THE LOVE OF THE EXAGGERATED.
26. LYING IS THE MOST SIMPLE FORM OF SELF-DEFENCE.
27. IT IS NOT THE POSITION, BUT THE DISPOSITION.
28. THE BECOMING OF MAN IS THE HISTORY OF THE EXHAUSTION OF HIS POSSIBILITIES.
29. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, STYLE IS ART. AND ART IS NOTHING MORE OR LESS THAN VARIOUS MODES OF STYLIZED, DEHUMANIZED REPRESENTATION.
30. MY IDEA OF A WRITER: SOMEONE INTERESTED IN EVERYTHING.
31. A FICTION ABOUT SOFT OR EASY DEATHS IS PART OF THE MYTHOLOGY OF MOST DISEASES THAT ARE NOT CONSIDERED SHAMEFUL OR DEMEANING.
32. SOCIETIES NEED TO HAVE ONE ILLNESS WHICH BECOMES IDENTIFIED WITH EVIL, AND ATTACHES BLAME TO ITS VICTIMS.
33. THE PAST ITSELF, AS HISTORICAL CHANGE CONTINUES TO ACCELERATE, HAS BECOME THE MOST SURREAL OF SUBJECTS – MAKING IT POSSIBLE… TO SEE A NEW BEAUTY IN WHAT IS VANISHING.
34. ANYTHING IN HISTORY OR NATURE THAT CAN BE DESCRIBED AS CHANGING STEADILY CAN BE SEEN AS HEADING TOWARD CATASTROPHE.
35. THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THAT IS TOLD, NOT SOMETHING THAT IS KNOWN. IF THERE WERE NO SPEAKING OR WRITING, THERE WOULD BE NO TRUTH ABOUT ANYTHING. THERE WOULD ONLY BE WHAT IS.
36. WHAT IS MOST BEAUTIFUL IN VIRILE MEN IS SOMETHING FEMININE; WHAT IS MOST BEAUTIFUL IN FEMININE WOMEN IS SOMETHING MASCULINE.
37. MALLARME SAID THAT EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EXISTS IN ORDER TO END IN A BOOK. TODAY EVERYTHING EXISTS TO END IN A PHOTOGRAPH.
38. THE PAINTER CONSTRUCTS, THE PHOTOGRAPHER DISCLOSES.
39. THE PROBLEMS OF THIS WORLD ARE ONLY TRULY SOLVED IN TWO WAYS: BY EXTINCTION OR DUPLICATION.
40. SO SUCCESSFUL HAS BEEN THE CAMERA’S ROLE IN BEAUTIFYING THE WORLD THAT PHOTOGRAPHS, RATHER THAN THE WORLD, HAVE BECOME THE STANDARD OF THE BEAUTIFUL.
41. IT IS NOT ALTOGETHER WRONG TO SAY THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD PHOTOGRAPH – ONLY LESS INTERESTING, LESS RELEVANT, LESS MYSTERIOUS ONES.
42. THE IDEOLOGY OF CAPITALISM MAKES US ALL INTO CONNOISSEURS OF LIBERTY – OF THE INDEFINITE EXPANSION OF POSSIBILITY.
43. IT IS NOT SUFFERING AS SUCH THAT IS MOST DEEPLY FEARED BUT SUFFERING THAT DEGRADES.
44. TO PHOTOGRAPH IS TO CONFER IMPORTANCE.
45. WHAT WE NEED IS TO USE WHAT WE HAVE.
46. AMBITION, IF IT FEEDS AT ALL, DOES SO ON THE AMBITION OF OTHERS.
47. ANY IMPORTANT DISEASE WHOSE CAUSALITY IS MURKY, AND FOR WHICH TREATMENT IS INEFFECTUAL, TENDS TO BE AWASH IN SIGNIFICANCE.

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