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Day 6 - Susan Sontag on Photography, 1977

Is Susan Sontag still right?

She suggested that amateur photographers still think pretty pictures come from pretty subjects. They chase sunsets and models, hoping beauty will rub off on their photos through sheer proximity. Does true artistry require more than pointing a camera at an attractive subject or a colorful sky? If we want to create truly compelling images, must we look beyond the superficial and capture the sublime? If that is the case, a brilliant photograph stems not from physical beauty alone, but from the photographer's vision and skill. The real test is whether your photo stands on its own, not because of what it pictures but because of how it's composed. Settling for postcard shots of sunsets is unsatisfactory. To aspire for more, you must use your camera to reveal hidden depths of the subject (or participant) to say something unique. The end result is that beauty lives all around us—our challenge is to photograph it in a way no one has ever seen before. I assume this conversation will continue including ways to photograph the hidden depths and unique nature of a glass of milk.

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