susan sontags œOn Platos Cave.
susan sontags œOn Platos Cave Paper instructions: Prompt: Susan Sontag tells us œIn Plato’s Cave that œphotography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is. œPhotography, she writes, œimplies that we know about the world if we accept it as the camera records it. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks (480). Write a thesis-driven argument that distinguishes Sontag’s definition of Photography from you own by examining the communicative properties of photography according to your experience. Introduction: In what ways do photographs furnish evidence differently than verbal expression? How does photography function as a social/anti-social interface in your generational, historical, and cultural experience in particular? There are so many different modes of photography in everyday life today (camera phones, facebook tagging, screen shots, etc.). Which modes would you classify as œpassive or œactive, œsocial or œanti-social forms of communication today? Sure”In the 1970’s, when this essay was written, the high cost of photo-printing and the lack of means for sharing photos with a larger public audience made popular photography a much more private medium. However, now that popular photography is widely shared in various public forums (thanks internet!), is it possible that Sontag’s definition of œphotography no longer adds up the same way? Clearly the message of Plato’s œAllegory of the Cave is important in her argument, even timeless. So how can we update her dated portrayal of œPhotography and translate it into our own contemporary context? If she really means it when she says that œall possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no, then sharing our confusions, doubts and disagreements with the terms that define her argument might be the only method for understanding the essay that the author herself would be willing to endorse (479). This assignment seeks to understand Sontag’s argument on our own terms in our own time. Which parts of her definition of photography still add up and which parts have expired based on your own experience and lived expertise? Pick one photograph from your life (one that you have taken, or one that has personal meaning for you), and discuss how it works as an interface for perceiving, understanding, communicating the event of in this photo. Use this photo of your own as rhetorical evidence to support your ultimate argument on how/what you see may be influenced by photography as a communicative/non-communicative interface. The final draft shouldn’t completely agree or disagree with her, but instead pose a thesis that illuminates a point of complexity in her argument that sparks your interest as a reader.