Maria Rendon (section 104)
AS1A Visual Literacy
Ways of Seeing (Chapters 1-5) Summary
Ways of Seeing by John Berger discusses many forms of the meaning of art, our way of recognizing images, the value of art, and other various arguments. The first chapter explains how seeing and recognition comes before words and that words only help to explain the world. Everything we see is influenced by our beliefs and what we know. This is actually true because personally I often label an object from a painting, such as my “macbook,” instead of using other words like “laptop, PC, computer, etc.” My beliefs are different than other people, which allows me to see an object based on my experiences. Berger also argues that the meaning behind images is often changed because of reproduction, mystification, and value. In Chapter 2, Berger displays a variety of images, without texts of the representation of women. The women are depicted in different eras in history, but are all sexualized and seemed as though they are objects for men. For example, in pages 40 and 41, the magazine images suggests that woman should wear stockings, lipstick, or underwear, as a way to conform to society and become “seductive” for men. Chapter 3 goes in depth behind the representations of men and women in art. Berger argues that women nude are often seen as degrading since they are depicted for their appearance, sex, and servant to men. However, men are depicted as having power within their physical appearance or financial power. In Chapter 4, the images are elaborate because they range from images of religious imagery to themes of death, food, fragile women, and various self-portraits that represent different individuals in society. The set of images of death are striking because they portray the idea that death is not escapable and that it’s inevitable. The images are very detailed and distorted, which enables the audience to feel the way society is often in an “ugly”...
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