Signed first printing of Sontag's classic work, a remarkable association copy extensively annotated by photojournalist John Godfrey Morris.
Very good in very good jacket.
"She dispels the B.S.!" (Morris)
This copy bears the marks of close reading and vigorous critical engagement by John Morris, the photo editor responsible for publishing some of the most enduring and influential images of war ever published in US media: for LIFE magazine, Robert Capa's photographs of the Allied D-Day landing at Omaha Beach, and for THE NEW YORK TIMES, Eddie Adams and Nick Ut Cong Huynh's unsparing documents of the Vietnam War. As a reader of Sontag, Morris's professional and ethical concerns guide his annotating pencil as he questions, objects, doubts, and admires her. When Sontag writes in "Photographic Evangels" that post-'40s photographers "generally claim to be finding, recording [...] – anything but making works of art," he comments that "she seems unaware of journalism," and on another page, thinks "she forgets the press"; to her remark in "Melancholy Objects" that "eventually we look at all photographs surrealistically," he appends an enormous "NO!" Elsewhere his commentary is fired with enthusiasm: to Sontag's observations on the inadequacy of the critical language generally used to evaluate photographs, he says "Hear hear"; and, delighted by her reproof to formalist criticism, exclaims: "She dispels the B.S.!"
Though Morris's underlining and marginal reactions travel through the whole work, the tracks of his closest attention can be seen whenever Sontag considers the nature, the power, and the utility of political and journalistic photography: photography of atrocities, of war, of suffering; photography designed to communicate, to alarm, to shock the conscience. Here, the lines and phrases marked out for underlining speak most plainly of what animates and troubles Morris, a lifelong Quaker and pacifist: "Photographs furnish evidence"; "[T]he camera record justifies"; "Photographing is essentially an act of non-intervention"; photography, says Sontag, cannot be an act of passive observation, it is "a way of at least tacitly, often explicitly, encouraging whatever is going on to keep happening. In the margins, Morris wonders: "Fair?"
A moving dialogue between one of the foundational works of photo criticism and one of that form's most important editors.
First edition. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, (1977). 8.25'' x 5.5''. Original grey cloth with silver-lettered spine. In original unclipped ($7.95) dust jacket, designed by Jacqueline Schuman. 207,  pages. Signed and dated by Sontag in blue pen on front free endpaper ("Susan Sontag 2/26/78 D.C."). Pencil underlining and marginalia throughout by Morris, with occasional later pencil notations in a different hand. Mild spine lean. Jacket with shallow edgewear, several small chips and tears.
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