February 2, 2013
The Value of the Original
As obvious as the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” can be, it holds more than one meaning. To be exact, it means that someone or something is beautiful, depending on the person who is looking at it. In general, the term means that something can be defined or described depending on the personality or who the viewer is. That is, a group of people can look at the same image, or object, and describe it differently. Which leads to Berger’s idea, in Ways of Seeing, that how we see things is subjective, it is rather determined by what we know, or what we believe (141). Our past experiences also have a role in how we see things, recognize them, and then relate to them. Berger starts with the idea that seeing comes before words, because in our human nature, we see before we use words. Then comes the realization that as we can see things and have a subjective thought on them, we can also be seen, someone else can look at us with the same subjectivity. Berger relates seeing and perception to images and paintings, which embody a way of seeing, nevertheless, it is seen or appreciated differently depending on who is looking at it. While some assumptions are involved in the way people look at images from the part, Berger believes that this leads to mystifying the images and their meaning. As the world progresses technologically, more factors are now involved in seeing and interpreting images, such as, the camera and photographic reproduction, academics and education, and wealth. How can these factors affects the value and meaning of images and painting that are considered are masterpieces? (paragraph about mystification)
When the camera was introduced, the value of the image dropped. Berger stated, “When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image.” (Berger 149). The uniqueness of the painting was measured by the uniqueness of its...
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