What are the best Susan Sontag quotes?

Accurate and famous quotes by Susan Sontag about photography, style, criticism, photographs, photograph. Susan Sontag is well-known American author with many wise quotes. You can read the best of all time and enjoy Top 10 lists. Share the best Susan Sontag sayings with your friends and family.


  1. Depression is melancholy minus its charms -- the animation, the fits.


  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. 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.




  5. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.


  6. It is not suffering as such that is most deeply feared but suffering that degrades.


  7. In good films, there is always a directness that entirely frees us from the itch to interpret.


  8. The truth is balance. However the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.


  9. The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.

    • photography

  10. Fear of sexuality is the new, disease-sponsored register of the universe of fear in which everyone now lives.


  11. AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.


  12. Sanity is a cozy lie.


  13. The writer is either a practicing recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one; or both. Usually both.


  14. Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.


  15. Taste has no system and no proofs.


  16. Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.


  17. Although none of the rules for becoming more alive is valid, it is healthy to keep on formulating them.


  18. The becoming of man is the history of the exhaustion of his possibilities.


  19. 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.


  20. I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro... this is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.


  21. The problems of this world are only truly solved in two ways: by extinction or duplication.


  22. Though collecting quotations could be considered as merely an ironic mimetism


  23. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures.

    • travel

  24. In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.

    • photography

  25. Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.


  26. Perversity is the muse of modern literature.


  27. Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.


  28. What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death.


  29. Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.


  30. Nature in America has always been suspect, on the defensive, cannibalized by progress. In America, every specimen becomes a relic.



Top 10 quotes by Susan Sontag

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Susan Sontag image quotes

What are the best Susan Sontag images quotes? Read and bookmark finest sayings from Susan Sontag, embed as quotes on beautiful images. Those images have photography quotes, style quotes, criticism quotes, photographs quotes, photograph quotes.


  1. Picture quote by Susan Sontag about travel

    I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.


That are top sayings from Susan Sontag as picture quotes. Access more quotations by Susan Sontag with images on Pinterest.

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About Susan Sontag

Where is Susan Sontag from? Susan Sontag is American who said awesome wise words. Well-known and respected in American society for wise sayings. The following quotations and images represent the American nature embed in Susan Sontag's character.

What Susan Sontag was famous for? Susan Sontag is famous author with many good quotes. Influential and well recognized author all over the world. Browse a lot of Susan Sontag books and reference books with quotes from Susan Sontag on Amazon.


What are the best photography quotes by Susan Sontag?


    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.

    • photography

    The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.

    • photography

    In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.

    • photography

    Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

    • photography

    All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.

    • photography

    To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder - a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.


More photography quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best style quotes by Susan Sontag?


    Taste has no system and no proofs.

    • style

    In the final analysis, style is art. And art is nothing more or less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation.

    • style

    The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated. It is good for the digestion.

    • style

    The hard truth is that what may be acceptable in elite culture may not be acceptable in mass culture, that tastes which pose only innocent ethical issues as the property of a minority become corrupting when they become more established. Taste is context, and the context has changed.

    • style

    "Camp" is a vision of the world in terms of style - but a particular style. It is the love of the exaggerated.


More style quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best criticism quotes by Susan Sontag?


    Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.

    • criticism

    Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world -- in order to set up a shadow world of meanings.

    • criticism

    The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art -- and, by analogy, our own experience -- more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.

    • criticism

    In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.

    • criticism

    The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art - and, by analogy, our own experience - more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.


More criticism quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best photographs quotes by Susan Sontag?


    Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.

    • travel

    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.


    Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.


    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.


More photographs quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best photograph quotes by Susan Sontag?


    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.

    • photography

    The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.

    • photography

    In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.

    • photography

    Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.


    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.

    • another

    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.


    Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

    • photography

    All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.

    • photography

More photograph quotes or go to table of contents


More quotes by Susan Sontag

Want some more good quotations by Susan Sontag? Explore the rest of 99 sayings by Susan Sontag.


"Camp" is a vision of the world in terms of style - but a particular style. It is the love of the exaggerated.

  • camp

In the final analysis, style is art. And art is nothing more or less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation.

  • style

Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been -- what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal -- needs to be protected from people.


A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of spirit over matter.




We live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters.


Lying is the most simple form of self-defence.


Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.


It's a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe --though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now. Because it's in the past; because we have survived.


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.

  • another

Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history.


Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world -- in order to set up a shadow world of meanings.

  • criticism

The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art - and, by analogy, our own experience - more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.

  • aim

One set of messages of the society we live in is: Consume. Grow. Do what you want. Amuse yourselves. The very working of this economic system, which has bestowed these unprecedented liberties, most cherished in the form of physical mobility and material prosperity, depends on encouraging people to defy limits.


Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

  • photography

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.


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.

  • help

Jews and homosexuals are the outstanding creative minorities in contemporary urban culture. Creative, that is, in the truest sense: they are creators of sensibilities. The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony.


Al forms of consensus about great books and perennial problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of what is already known. Those great books don't only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies.


I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.


The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty -- of the indefinite expansion of possibility.


AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.

  • aids

Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence, but because it is felt to be obscene -- in the original meaning of that word: ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses.


For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.


Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens and real diseases are useful material.


Depression is melancholy minus its charms - the animation, the fits.


Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it.


Tamed as it may be, sexuality remains one of the demonic forces in human consciousness -- pushing us at intervals close to taboo and dangerous desires, which range from the impulse to commit sudden arbitrary violence upon another person to the voluptuous yearning for the extinction of one's consciousness, for death itself. Even on the level of simple physical sensation and mood, making love surely resembles having an epileptic fit at least as much as, if not more than, it does eating a meal or conversing with someone.

  • sex

What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.


Most men experience getting older with regret, apprehension. But most women experience it even more painfully: with shame. Aging is a man's destiny, something that must happen because he is a human being.


Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

  • book

Ambition, if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.

  • ambition

In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.

  • criticism

A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.

  • death

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.


War-making is one of the few activities that people are not supposed to view realistically; that is, with an eye to expense and practical outcome. In all-out war, expenditure is all-out, unprudent -- war being defined as an emergency in which no sacrifice is excessive.


The hard truth is that what may be acceptable in elite culture may not be acceptable in mass culture, that tastes which pose only innocent ethical issues as the property of a minority become corrupting when they become more established. Taste is context, and the context has changed.

  • style

I don't want to express alienation. It isn't what I feel. I'm interested in various kinds of passionate engagement. All my work says be serious, be passionate, wake up.


The taste for worst-case scenarios reflects the need to master fear of what is felt to be uncontrollable. It also expresses an imaginative complicity with disaster.


With the modern diseases (once TB, now cancer) the romantic idea that the disease expresses the character is invariably extended to assert that the character causes the disease -- because it has not expressed itself. Passion moves inward, striking and blighting the deepest cellular recesses.

  • advice

The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.


Unfortunately, moral beauty in art -- like physical beauty in a person -- is extremely perishable. It is nowhere so durable as artistic or intellectual beauty. Moral beauty has a tendency to decay very rapidly into sententiousness or untimeliness.


What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.

  • beautiful

All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.

  • photography

Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.

  • details

Volume depends precisely on the writer's having been able to sit in a room every day, year after year, alone.


The best emotions to write out of are anger and fear or dread. The least energizing emotion to write out of is admiration. It is very difficult to write out of because the basic feeling that goes with admiration is a passive contemplative mood.

  • authors

What is most beautiful in virile men is sometimes feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.


The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated. It is good for the digestion.

  • style

To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder - a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.

  • cameras

The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty - of the indefinite expansion of possibility.

  • capitalism

Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.


Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents pots and pans -- the used things, warm with generations of human touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms, transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum.


What pornographic literature does is precisely to drive a wedge between one's existence as a full human being and one's existence as a sexual being -- while in ordinary life a healthy person is one who prevents such a gap from opening up. Normally we don't experience, at least don't want to experience, our sexual fulfillment as distinct from or opposed to our personal fulfillment. But perhaps in part they are distinct, whether we like it or not.

  • pornography

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.

  • altogether

Much of modern art is devoted to lowering the threshold of what is terrible. By getting us used to what, formerly, we could not bear to see or hear, because it was too shocking, painful, or embarrassing, art changes morals.

  • art

Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.


The love of the famous, like all strong passions, is quite abstract. Its intensity can be measured mathematically, and it is independent of persons.


The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art -- and, by analogy, our own experience -- more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.

  • criticism

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own.


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.


Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds.


It is the nature of aphoristic thinking to be always in a state of concluding; a bid to have the final word is inherent in all powerful phrase-making.

  • profanity

Most people in this society who aren't actively mad are, at best, reformed or potential lunatics.


The quality of American life is an insult to the possibilities of human growth... the pollution of American space, with gadgetry and cars and TV and box architecture, brutalizes the senses, making gray neurotics of most of us, and perverse spiritual athletes and strident self-transcenders of the best of us.


Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life -- its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness -- conjoin to dull our sensory faculties.


American energy is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness. Into hectic philanthropy. Into benighted moral crusades, the most spectacular of which was Prohibition. Into an awesome talent for uglifying countryside and cities. Into the loquacity and torment of a minority of gadflies: artists, prophets, muckrakers, cranks, and nuts. And into self-punishing neuroses. But the naked violence keeps breaking through, throwing everything into question.

  • america

I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro. This is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.

  • america

Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style -- but a particular kind of style. It is love of the exaggerated.


A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.


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When was Susan Sontag birthday? Susan Sontag was born on January 16, 1933.

Who is Susan Sontag? Some facts about Susan Sontag from biography. Jewish American literary theorist, novelist, filmmaker, and feminist activist.... Read more about Susan Sontag on Wikipedia or watch videos with quotes from Susan Sontag on YouTube. Browse a lot of books about Susan Sontag on Amazon to get more reference.

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