Ways of Seeing
How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever.
"Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak."
"But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place
This is a really remarkable series and a remarkable, although annoying, book. The book is annoying because it should have been a coffee table book with large colour photographs and large font instead it is a Penguin paperback with a font tending towards the unreadable and grey scale reproductions of the paintings that make them almost impossible to view. This is agonising, as ...more
1: Benjamin's 'Work of Art'--the ability to reproduce images alters the way we encounter works of art. This seems reasonable. Nobody gets to see a Giotto without having seen a reproduction first, except someone who has no interest in the Giotto in the first place. But Berger et al* go a step further: we ...more
Ways of Seeing is a 1972 television series of 30-minute films created chiefly by writer John Berger and producer Mike Dibb. It was broadcast on BBC Two in January 1972 and adapted into a book of the same name. The book Ways of Seeing was written by Berger and Dibb, along with Sven Blomberg, Chris Fox, and Richard Hollis. The book consists of seven numbered essays: four using words and images; and three essays using only images.
عنوانها: شیوه های نگریستن شیوه های دیدن ...more
4 essays and 3 pictorial essays. Really interesting stuff cutting away some of the bullshit associated with our appreciation of art. It seems like museums are doing a lot of things wrong as well as right.
Chapter on oil-painting was particularly interesting but it was the last one about advertising (or ...more
This was a great introduction to the work of John Berger, and my doubts that this would turn into something rather dull were swiftly blown away. His approach to art isn't overly complex thus you don't have to be a cultural boffin on the subject, yet its deep on a theoretical level to challenge and stimulate the old grey matter. Ways of Seeing offers not just an idea but also an invitation to see and know the world differently. As the TV series aired in 1972 (four years before I was born) I will ...more
"Seeing Comes Before Words: "Ways of Seeing" by John Berger But because it is nevertheless a work of art and art is thought to be greater than commerce its market price is said to be a reflection of its spiritual value of an object, as distinct from a message or an example, can only be explained in terms of magic or religion.
In Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Original paintings are silent and still in a sense that information never ...more
Berger is very clear about his purview here, which I appreciate. Though he mentions photography and advertising and film, and he draws contrasts to sculpture and Eastern art, the real ...more
For starters, he seems either ignorant of or unwilling to admit that what we broadly call 'mainstream visual art' is, was, and quite likely almost always has been directly tied up with wealth; with ...more
I recently reread Kenneth Clark's Civilization. It was based on a British documentary TV series, from the end of the 1960s. In it Clark offers a very own, but still fairly classic introduction to art. The book of John Berger (1926-2017) and the accompanying TV-series (look it up on You Tube!) was released in 1972 and was the antipode of Clarks. Berger looked at the works of art very differently, or more correctly: he looked at the way we "see" very differently.
But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. 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. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.
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Publicity is the life of this culture in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive and at the same ...more
Link to the documentary (which I definitely recommend you watch to supplement the reading of the text): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4...
Will add my proper in-depth review of this later (as it really does deserve one). For now, I will just say that Berger makes us think: he makes us think about the impact of images, their ...more
The chapter about oil painting was especially illuminating for me, as I had never understood how to tell a "great" oil painting from a mediocre one, having no context in which to see them. But Berger here really dissects the historical origins of the ...more
"Seeing comes before words.
Ways of reading - - meaning/ analysis. Personal perspective and context of writing or image.
There is a divergence between looking and seeing art and literature. Such as, if one were to apply Marxist literary criticism (Ideology) when examining a work of art. Art is in essence propaganda, thus what it represents is a statement/ critique of capitalism and social hierarchy.
If one observes the surface value or façade of art, you will instantaneously connect with ...more
In his essay he raises the idea of "mysticification." Which is great and all but he chooses to not define it. I had to keep going back trying to find a definition in context however failed. He seems to switch it around a lot.
My Composition professor raised a good point- Berger is so against ...more
Nevertheless, I try here to capture the essence of it, in some ...more
He is, I think, the precursor of the excellent television art historians and ...more
Although the examples from its 1970s origin are dated, its thesis is perhaps even more valid today than then: Oil painting emerged just as the Western world entered the era of capitalism and imperialism. The technique of perspective makes the viewer the center of all he (yes, Virginia, "he") sees, just as "Western man" viewed the resources of the world. Oil paintings, therefore, became a vehicle by which ...more
As the title suggests, "Ways of Seeing" is about the ways we see. How our mind is formed through society and how this conditioning impacts on our ...more
Later he was self exiled to continental Europe, living between the french Alps in summer and the suburbs of Paris in winter. Since then, his production has ...more
One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object -- and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”