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101+ Susan Sontag Quotes About Art And Activism

Susan Sontag was an American artist and political activist

Born on 16 January 1933, Sontag was an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist.

She wrote various essays and novels on the interpretation of life and ideologies. Sontag actively spoke about and traveled to conflict-prone areas.

Susan was regarded as among the most influential critics of her generation. She also taught philosophy from 1960 to 1964. She became politically active during this time and started protesting against the Vietnam War. Her first major essay, 'Notes On Camp', was released in 1964. She wrote exclusively about subjects like photography, culture, media, illnesses, human rights, and communist ideologies, amongst others. Her personal and professional life has been an inspiration to many for ages.

In this article, we cover the best Susan Sontag photography quotes, quotes about her skill as a writer, her interpretation of life, her work on 'Notes On Camp', excerpts from her book collection, and more. We hope you enjoy these amazing quotes by Susan Sontag.

Here we have a list of the most famous Susan Sontag quotes on art and activism. And if you enjoy this, feel free to check out these activism quotes and Will Durant quotes too.

Famous Susan Sontag Quotes

Are you ready to discover the best Susan Sontag quotes? Sontag's works were open to interpretation upon reading. She was a free-spirited author who loved writing about photography and art. For someone who gave so much attention to philosophy and arts, her hold on reality was very strong too. She went on to write many books and essays on politics and activism. Here are some of the most famous Susan Sontag quotes. The Susan Sontag on photography quotes in this article might even inspire you to pick up a camera yourself.

1. “Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”

- Susan Sontag.

2. “My library is an archive of longings.”

- Susan Sontag.

3. “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.”

- Susan Sontag.

4. “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art. ”

- Susan Sontag.

5. “Never worry about being obsessive. I like obsessive people. Obsessive people make great art.”

- Susan Sontag.

6. “The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.”

- Susan Sontag.

7. “I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.”

- Susan Sontag.

8. “A novel worth reading is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, of what human nature is, of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.”

- Susan Sontag.

9. “Narratives can make us understand. Photographs do something else: they haunt us.”

- Susan Sontag.

10. “Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers.”

- Susan Sontag.

11. “It is intolerable to have one's sufferings twinned with anybody else's.”

- Susan Sontag.

12. “Photographs objectify: they turn an event or a person into something that can be possessed.”

- Susan Sontag.

13. “Making suffering loom larger, by globalizing it, may spur people to feel they ought to 'care' more.”

- Susan Sontag.

14. “No 'we' should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people's pain.”

- Susan Sontag.

15. “The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community.”

- Susan Sontag.

16. “The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions."

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

18. “War has been the norm and peace the exception.”

- Susan Sontag.

19. “The ideal or the dream would be to arrive at a language that heals as much as it separates.”

- Susan Sontag.

20. “The best criticism, and it is uncommon, is of this sort that dissolves considerations of content into those of form.”

- Susan Sontag.

21. “All aesthetic judgment is really cultural evaluation.”

- Susan Sontag.

22. “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.”

- Susan Sontag.

23. “It is not the position, but the disposition.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

26. “Lying is the most simple form of self-defense.”

- Susan Sontag.

27. “Sanity is a cozy lie.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

29. “Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.”

- Susan Sontag.

30. “I want to make a New Year's prayer, not a resolution. I'm praying for courage.”

- Susan Sontag.

31. “Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.”

- Susan Sontag.

32. “I'm only interested in people engaged in a project of self-transformation.”

- Susan Sontag.

33. “One can never ask anyone to change a feeling.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

35. “To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”

- Susan Sontag.

36. “The fear of becoming old is born of the recognition that one is not living now the life that one wishes.”

- Susan Sontag.

37. “... what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.”

- Susan Sontag.

38. “One doesn't need to know the artist's private intentions. The work tells all.”

- Susan Sontag.

39. “Shouting has never made me understand anything.”

- Susan Sontag.

40. “Life is a movie; death is a photograph.”

- Susan Sontag.

41. “Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.”

- Susan Sontag.

42. “I urge you to be as impudent as you dare. Be bold, be bold, be bold.”

- Susan Sontag.

43. “The idea of content in art is today merely a hindrance, a nuisance, a subtle or not so subtle philistinism.”

- Susan Sontag.

44. “One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.”

- Susan Sontag.

45. “Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

48. “Camp is a solvent of mortality. It neutralizes moral indignation, sponsors playfulness.”

- Susan Sontag.

49. “The becoming of man is the history of the exhaustion of his possibilities.”

- Susan Sontag.

50. “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed.”

- Susan Sontag.

51. “To collect photographs is to collect the world.”

- Susan Sontag.

Inspirational Susan Sontag Quotes

Susan Sontag was an established writer and multi-faceted individual. Some Susan Sontag quotes on life and philosophy are truly remarkable. Susan Sontag quotes can make us feel really inspired and motivated to look at things differently. As a writer, every book written by her had incredibly-worded material, which makes Susan Sontag quotes absolutely inspiring. Read on to find your favorite Susan Sontag quotes from this list of the best Susan Sontag quotes.

52. “Photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.”

- Susan Sontag.

53. “Photographs were seen as a way of giving information to people who do not take easily to reading.”

- Susan Sontag.

54. “Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted.”

- Susan Sontag.

55. “Photographs cannot create a moral position, but they can reinforce one—and can help build a nascent one.”

- Susan Sontag.

56. “Photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of  participation.”

- Susan Sontag.

57. “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.”

- Susan Sontag.

58. “All my work says be serious, be passionate, wake up.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

60. “Surrealism in painting amounted to little more than the contents of a meagerly stocked dream world...”

- Susan Sontag.

61. “Surrealism can only deliver a reactionary judgment; can make out of history only an accumulation of oddities, a joke, a death trip.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

63. “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.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

65. “What we need is to use what we have.”

- Susan Sontag.

66. “It is not suffering as such that is most deeply feared but suffering that degrades.”

- Susan Sontag.

67. “Books are funny little portable pieces of thought.”

- Susan Sontag.

68. “It is only the fear of malpractice that keeps doctors candid in this country.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

70. “The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom.”

- Susan Sontag.

71. “Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

73. “Life is a cinema, death is a photo.”

- Susan Sontag.

74. “Today, everything exists to end in a photograph.”

- Susan Sontag.

75. “I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

77. “The most desirable thing in the world is freedom to be true to oneself, i.e., honesty.”

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

Profound Susan Sontag Quotes

Susan Sontag quotes can inspire us to look at life with a different lens

Susan, as a person, believed a book and a photograph were just another means of expression and thus open to interpretation by others. Photography was an enviable concept of modern times and images the means of envy. Here are some more Susan Sontag quotes on images and photography good enough for you to share with others. Which of these Susan Sontag quotes do you learn most from?

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

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

- Susan Sontag.

85. “I don't want to express alienation. It isn't what I feel. I'm interested in various kinds of passionate engagement.”

- Susan Sontag.

86. “Ours is an age which consciously pursues health, and yet only believes in the reality of sickness. The truths we respect are those born of affliction.”

- Susan Sontag.

87. “The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known.”

- Susan Sontag.

88. “I guess I think I'm writing for people who are smarter than I am, because then I'll be doing something that's worth their time.”

- Susan Sontag.

89. “To me, literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old.”

- Susan Sontag.

90. “Not all violence is equally reprehensible; not all wars are equally unjust.”

- Susan Sontag.

91. “The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public.”

- Susan Sontag.

92. “All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation.”

- Susan Sontag.

93. “I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing — not just a waiting.”

- Susan Sontag.

94. “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.”

- Susan Sontag.

95. “A better state of one’s feelings or simply the idea of a silence in one’s self that allows one to think or to feel. Which to me is the same.”

- Susan Sontag.

96. “My idea of a writer: someone interested in everything.”

- Susan Sontag.

97. “I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all.”

- Susan Sontag.

98. “I must change my life so that I can live it, not wait for it.”

- Susan Sontag.

99. “I don’t care about people being intelligent; any situation between people, when they are really human with each other, produces ‘intelligence’.”

- Susan Sontag.

100. “It’s hard not to be afraid. Be less afraid.”

- Susan Sontag.

101. “Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on the forehead.”

- Susan Sontag.

102. "Kindness, kindness, kindness."

- Susan Sontag.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 101+ Susan Sontag quotes about art and activism, then why not take a look at these Allen Ginsberg quotes and art quotes for kids too?

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