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Susan Sontag Analysis Essay

When comparing the descriptive technique of Susan Sontag’s On Photography book between ALL MY LIFE FOR SALE by John D. Freyer and eBay, we will find that Mr. Freyer demonstrated a merely subjective description that was mentored solely by his own point of view.

The assumption that “every photographer should read this book” in the beginning of his description, and asserting this assumption later by using an overstated sentence like: “Even the mom and pop photographers”, and further emphasizing by generalizing his own opinion and applying his own theory to the whole world by stating: “world would be a better place if all of the image makers in this county read a little Sontag”, illustrating clearly that he based his description on this own opinion rather that the factual information about the characteristics of the book.

He holds a specific concept and adheres to while transmitting from sentence to sentence. On other wards, he is attributing everything he is saying to his judgment, and refraining totally from entailing any description of the book he is selling. Thereby, a person like me- who is not a photographer, and have never heard about this book before – will find this book a puzzle. His description did not illustrate anything about the author, the content, the goal, or the physical description of the book- such as size, number of pages, and so on.

Yet, in a matter of fact, his passionate description made me have an overwhelming desire to explore this book which will lead to a better world, and made me curious to know how photography can have such effect. Certainly, the effect of his passionate words on me would be magnified if I am a photographer or have an interest in photography, and this highlights a highly important point: The author here specified a certain category of audience by stating: “This book is not unlike the songs to the key of life, for photographers”, and saying: Almost anyone who has taken an art photography class has a copy of this book”.

Thereby, he specified photographers or a person who already had taken an art photography as his audience, and this, in my opinion, is a misjudgment. Considering the fact that as the count of the audience rise, the selling will escalate- which is the ultimate goal of any advertisementsuggests that it would be better if he further generalizes his audience base. I think that could be achieved easily if he focused more on the descriptive details of the book he is selling; especially the content.

Doing so, make it easier for anyone who has no previous knowledge of this book to get a solid knowledge base – on which he can decide if he wants to buy this book or not. Thus, apparently, he did not even afford the needs of the audiences he specified; they also need to know more factual detailed information about this book before buying it. Therefore, again, despite his passionate and effectual words, his description seemed to be an editorial rather than an advertisement.

Consequently, I think that his advertisement will motivate me to get a closer look at this book; by googling it, or searching it on eBay or google, then, if it seemed genuinely interesting, I will compare the buying options between this site and other sites. Further, I would like to note another important point: All auctions are ended long time ago; therefore, there is no chance to properly compare the selling options between both sites. Furthermore, I would like to note that I indeed admire his choosing of another product as a reference for this book by contrasting both of them.

I believe it will augment the selling probability of both if only one of them is truly as he demonstrated. On the contrary, I think putting a statement like: “I’d buy it here if I wasn’t selling it ” was inappropriate. On the other hand, on eBay I found more specific details on the book itself; condition, format, language, ISBN, Publisher, weight, width, height, spine, and more. Further, and most importantly, I had a detailed description of the book content which helped me to truly envision it.

EBay site displayed an attractive introduction to his description by stating: “Susan Sontag’s groundbreaking critique of photography asks forceful questions about the moral and aesthetic issues surrounding this art form. Photographs are everywhere, and the ‘insatiability of the photographing eye’ has profoundly altered our relationship with the world. Photographs have the power to shock, idealize or seduce, they create a sense of stalgia and act as a memorial, and they can be used as evidence against us or to identify us”.

It illustrated the evidenced effect of photographs in our lives; demonstrating how photography can have its unique impression on us. Doing so, will motivate the audience to explore the hidden facts behind this art; especially after knowing that the book is analyzing the moral and aesthetic issues surrounding photography. Which consequently will create a very wide audience base. The message on eBay site is directed to any person who uses photographs, and who subsequently will be affected with theses photographs’ moral and esthetic aspects- which in turn can leave a strong impression on his life.

The site further exhibits more subjective descriptions like: “Susan Sontag’s On Photography is a seminal and groundbreaking work on the subject”, and also highlights some of magazines’ reviews as regards this book: “Sontag examines the ways in which we use these omnipresent images to manufacture a sense of reality and authority in our lives. Sontag offers enough food for thought to satisfy the most intellectual of appetite. (The Times). A brilliant analysis of the profound changes photographic images have made in our way of looking at the world, and at ourselves (Washington Post).

The most original and illuminating study of the subject. (New Yorker), along with more later detailed reviews on the same page on eBay site. Moreover, the site presents detailed information about the author and her biography that was really helpful. I a matter of fact, knowing that: “She is the author of several work of fiction and her nonfiction includes ILLNESS AS METAPHOR (Penguin Modern Classics). She has also written and directed four feature films and stages plays in the US and Europe” creates an excellent attraction.

I think knowing the author of the book or the brand of the product; can be an effective persuasive tool. The site also gave an inventory of some of the author’s books, and I think this was a good decision. Certainly, anyone will buy this book and find it interesting will be eager to buy the other books. Moreover, having a detailed information about the seller, shipping, and return with guaranteed money back: gives the book a more satisfying appearance in my mind eye.

On evaluating the description across the writing context on the eBay site, I think that eBay site did an excellent job establishing a logical development of information that was coherent and explanatory at the same time; therefore, it effectively served to achieve the main goal – which in turn can raise the selling rates, and accommodate to the audience needs. Furthermore, both sites employed some visuals in the form of a picture of the book.

EBay description did not revolve merely around reviews or opinions as happened in ALL MY LIFE FOR SALE. On the contrary, they were concerned with applying more objective details about the book. By doing this, they assigned spirit to the tough objective book details. On other words, eBay displayed an effective combination of subjective and objective descriptionWhich reinforced the main idea- that this book worth reading, increased the base of audience, and served the main goal. In conclusion: I – as customer will buy this book from eBay.

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