12 January 2012
Summary-“Ways of Seeing”
John Berger -“Ways of Seeing “
The essay by John Berger Ways of Seeing, published in 2013 from the book “Readings for Writers”, describes the relation of what we see and how it can be interpreted by what we know or believe. The way you visualize an image will be different as how someone else appreciates it and this changes the way we see. He also states that every image embodies a way of seeing; however on how we appreciate the image depends on the way we see things. Berger acknowledges the importance of history and how we value an image between its present and its past. This leads to cultural mystification of the past and deprives us from our own history. The mystery and history of an image can gain its own power and be justified by the role of ruling classes. Berger states that today we avoid mystification of the past and perceive it in different ways. The value of paintings today is subject to the history and possibly the mystery. Berger also talks about how the invention of the camera changed the way people saw paintings. When a painting is reproduced by a camera the uniqueness of an image is no longer present. The camera made it seem as what we saw depended on when and where we were at that moment. Now, the paining is traveling to different spectators and they have a diverse meaning based on each individual point of view. This is when the meaning and detail of a reproduced paining is changed. The detail can also be modified by excluding a certain section of the painting to abstract it. After a reproduction, since the painting has changed in different ways we may argue it still has its own uniqueness. However, one can have the original painting and the reproduction and as a result the initial meaning is no longer found. The films on the other hand, are reproduced images of paintings, where the filmmaker has its own conclusion and therefore the paining loses its...
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