Response to In Plato's Cave

There are so many things in this essay that strike a chord with me.  Although there are probably just as many parts that I have trouble deciphering.  I always find Sontag's writings to be equal parts enlightening and mystifying.  Which is nice in a way, because they're essays that you can revisit again and again while your subconscious chews on different parts.

"To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed." (p.4)

It's easy to understand the concept of a power structure in the person holding the image making device.  The image maker decides what goes into the frame, etc. But this question of ownership is really interesting.  In line with the act of discovery and exploration of something that has existed long before you arrived with your camera.  I think a lot of times filmmakers and artists are celebrated more than their subjects are, when it's almost always an appropriation.  I suppose because it's an easier place to place your energy, rather than on a societal problem that maybe you don't want to face because that would mean taking responsibility for it, or taking some sort of action. 

"...photography came along to memorialize, to restate symbolically, the imperiled continuity and vanishing extendedness of family life. Those ghostly traces, family photographs, supply the token presence of the dispersed relatives." (p.9)

I think this is what I've been getting at with the Palestinian Prisoner Portrait project, and that would make an interesting component, maps that link to the prisons where the men had to go, and the distance they were from their families. Inside every home is a sort of memorial area of a wall to relatives that either died as a result of the occupation or are currently in prison.  Sometimes the walls are decorated with art that the men made in prison.  Before this era of mass incarceration (probably at the end of the First Intifada although I don't know for sure, I'm just guessing), the legendary keys to the former homes of Palestinians (in present day Israel) were slowly replaced with these items. Attaching some photos here of memorial walls, not only in peoples homes but around the camp: