“Photography thus overloads the visual environment. It involves the democratisation of many forms of human experience, both by turning into photographic images and enabling anyone to photograph them, especially with Kodak cameras and now with digital cameras as we examine below.”
Until we recognise that we are victim and executioner in one…
“Photography” didn’t “do” anything. Why is our reliance on it so strange, why is our relation to it so perverse, if it is indeed perverse. What about adding a copy of an environment to it overloads it? If there were too many blades of grass would we not feel the same thing? Why is it that the human is less desirable than the “natural”? What is it that makes us imagine the things we have produced are somehow more dangerous, more pollutant than the things that are there by pure chance?
Photographs do not overload the environment, they are the environment. Nature is in the way of its own far more beautiful representation. Only a representation can be beautiful. Obviously.
The democratisation of human experience again encourages us to imagine that people, “the people” who sociology does not address, that is to say the non academic people, are able to be convinced that anything they see a photograph of is the same as any other thing they see a photograph of? This is Sontag at her most profoundly insensitive and ungenerous, so much so that she wrote another book later to take back how staggeringly arrogant and stupid the notion was in the first instance.
When we read The Brothers Karamazov and then read a Barbara Cartland we do not have the same sort of experience. Time has gone into the one, and not to the other. Love has gone into one, and desire into the other.
We assume that desire is transferable via the medium of photography in this way, that our desire being as it is composed of the desire of the other is so easily assumed. This is perhaps the case, and it is perhaps ungenerous of the “artists” who present us with desire rather than love, perhaps it is greedy of em. Still, though, it is our responsibility to choose not to desire but to love.
Kodak then straight to digital… This is an amusingly poor effort at a segue