Response to Sontag – Jess

On page 283, Sontag discusses tourist photography and writes as follows:

“The method especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic– Germans, Japanese, and Americans. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to have fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures.”

I had never thought about travel photography in this way before. In a spin off Plato’s Cave, this assertion tells us that the worker is accustomed to working and that is what he/she knows; it may even extend into leisure time. Supposing Sontag is correct in her assertion, how might this affect  our “working” online during leisure time — socially connecting at a constant pace, mobile devices ready at a moment’s notice. In essence, are we always working, or is leisure time simply being redefined? Another interesting angle Sontag points out is the ability of photography to give shape to an experience; I think this is even more prevalent with digital photography. She notes this act as “soothing” and as a way to deal with the “possession of space in which they are insecure” (p. 283). Assuming tourist photography has increased when it went digital, how might this affect a visitor’s sense of place without Sontag’s “security of a lens”?


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