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Photography as a Dark Art

            Susan Sontag has an unconventional view of photographs; to her, they are not just flashes of the past or recorded memories. Sontag finds a hidden agenda in all photographs. She even goes far enough to attach sinister motives to the act of photographing, stating that "to photograph someone is a sublimated murder- (14-15). After reading this, a picture popped into my head. I saw a man drenched in an evil red hue, in a dark room while crouched over and staring at a picture of a young woman. The photographer no longer remained a normal man with a camera; he became an insidious stalker "focused on capturing the woman in his photos. Such is a very extreme view of photography. It's analogous to the idea that having one's picture taken is comparable to having a part of one's soul taken away. In result, a photograph doesn't just exhibit the subject of the photo; it can also hold the hidden thoughts of the photographer. .
             While sometimes holding cameras as harmful weapons, Sontag also considers them as alternatives to weapons. She remarks that instead of using guns to relieve aggression, people should use cameras. Sontag uses the example of how tourists on a sightseeing safari shoot photographs of animals, instead of shooting the animals themselves. If someone wanted to kill another person, I doubt that he could ever come to the conclusion that murder and photography are interchangeable. The purpose of killing a person is not just to relieve tension within the killer; it is also to render the target dead.
             Another concept that is taken in comparison with photography is Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Although Sontag covers many ideas in the first chapter alone, she tries to juxtapose the Cave to photography. In the cave, the prisoners have no knowledge of what the real world is like; they only recognize the shadows of objects as reality. Photographs showcase reality as it occurs, or so one would think.

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