Annie Leibovitz's postmortem photograph of Susan Sontag in A Photographer's Life, 1990–2005 publicizes its subject in the same visual space that protects its privacy, writing over its contemporaneity with a series of more legible nineteenth-century and modernist visual codes, just as it aspires to write over celebrity spectacle with the intimate and sustained gaze of contemplation and witness. This process of writing over is not just spatial but temporal, anchored in moments of rupture, suture, and recursivity, as well as in strategies through which the apparently static image aspires to acknowledge, touch, and potentially rework its usable pasts. The volume's collective use of “temporal asynchrony” constitutes a queering of the latent teleologies of linear sequence (from the teleology of heterosexual reproduction to the inscription of ideas of social order broadly), and in terms requisite to Leibovitz's project to redescribe kinship as queer or lesbian history.
Karen Jacobs; Retouching Queer Kinship: Sontag, Leibovitz, and the Ends of the Photographic Lens. GLQ 1 January 2017; 23 (1): 1–29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3672285
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