John Berger

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Berger's "Ways of Seeing" VS. My Own There are numerous ways to "see" a picture. One person's life can, and will affect the way in which they view the painting. I do not agree with Berger's way of thinking throughout "Ways of Seeing". I feel that his opinions are contradictory, and opposite of mine. One reason I don't like this reading is because he notes, "The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. In the middle Ages when men believed in a physical existence in Hell, the sight of fire must have meant something different from what it means today" (106). I get from this that what he is saying is somewhat hypocritical of what he notes later in the article. Berger later states that part of the image is lost by its replication, "Having seen this reproduction (Virgin of the Rocks), one can go to the National Gallery to look at the original and there discover what the reproduction lacks" (116), the only thing the reproduction lacks is the price tag of the original. I disagree with this, if replication was not possible, people would not be able to view the piece of art and make their own conclusions of it. The ways the image and texts are interpreted are based on interpreter's perception, belief, past history and interpretation of events. In John Berger's book, ‘Ways of Seeing,' the writer explores the way we view and interpret the art. The message provided by the writer relates to interpretation of the message. In the book (both in text and image) there is a message about the relationship of men and women and presence of their power and position. Berger starts his essay with: "It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it" (Berger, 7). In the very beginning of his essay, Berger implies to his readers that it is actually seeing which develops our thoughts and meanings. Using these thoughts and meanings, we interpret our...
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