Ways of Seeing Analysis

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Nicole Selby
Professor Williams
Summary Analysis Revision
15 April 2013
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing: Summary Analysis
In his article, “Ways of Seeing” (1972), John Berger analyzes different methods of being able to see or look at both people and objects in the world. He tells his audience how the invention of technology has affected the way people see and portray art and by means of mystification, which is the process of explaining away which is evident. He explains how seeing affects the way we learn throughout our life and how we can interpret it in many different ways. Words are simply measures of explanation, not necessarily things. We cannot simply look at a word and picture it, since it is simply a word. Our words, however, never perfectly explain what we see or how we perceive an image because our opinions and outlooks are unique, affected by what we believe and know. We often try to excessively interpret these “perspectives”, in an act of mystification. We analyze these paintings’ beauty and hidden beauty, rather than its reason for being. I don’t think people should look at works of art like this because it takes away true and purer meaning. I believe people should interpret what they want and let their imagination run free. For this reason, images are much more accurate and rich than words alone. These interpretations can’t reflect the image’s original outlook, and therefore take away from the meaning originally given to it by its maker. To be able to see an image, it must be created and/or reproduced. We can view these images through means of painted works of art or photographs. However, reproduction can modify works of art by means of value. Reproducing this art on cheaper materials can make a once beautiful piece of art look extremely inexpensive and less meaningful. As a result, the piece of artwork loses its uniqueness. John Berger is very clear how much reproduction has changed the way people see art, and how he feels towards this...
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