Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing[Reading] ➿ Ways of Seeing Author John Berger – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk John Berger s Classic Text on ArtJohn Berger s Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language First published in , it was based on the BBC televisi John Berger s Classic Text on ArtJohn Berger s Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language First published in , it was based on the BBC television series about which the London Sunday Times critic commented This is an eye opener in ways than one by concentrating on how we look at paintings he will almost certainly change the way you look Ways of Kindle - at pictures By now he has Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of the professional art critics He is a liberator of images and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation Peter Fuller, Arts Review The influence of the series and the book was enormous It opened up for general attention to areas of cultural study that are now commonplace Geoff Dyer in Ways of TellingWinner of theBooker Prize for his novel, G John Peter Berger born November th,is an art critic, painter and author of many novels including A Painter of Our Time, From A to X and Bento s Sketchbook. This book is based on a television series which can be viewed on YouTube here 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 This book is based on a television series which can be viewed on YouTube here 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 really all you will want to do is studying and think about these images for hours There is something we sort of know, even if I suspect we are completely wrong in our intuition We have been, as humans, looking at pictures for a lot longer than we have been reading books For the vast majority of us, literacy is a disturbingly recent invention perhaps a hundred , maybe a hundred and fifty years for people in the first world Churches told their Biblical stories as much in images as in words For a long time even here the words were spoken in a language that was not understood by those listening Learning how to read images, something so many of us assume isn t something we need to learn, but rather is somehow immediate, takes an entire culture and also takes perhaps as long as to learn how to read To understand how images work on us how we are manipulated by them that takes at least as long as it takes to learn the same things about how words work on and manipulate us.So, on one level this book is an exploration of the history of oil painting and what such paintings mean mean to us now in comparison to what they meant to earlier generations of people in Western societies Because the Western tradition of painting is quite a separate thing from any other world art traditions He starts by saying that paintings are both still and silent This is an interesting thing to say, because how we generally experience paintings today or at least, learn about them is through shows like Sister Wendy s World Tour of Art or Simon Schama s Power of Art Don t for a second get me wrong here I loved both But the art works displayed are anything but still or silent There is a voice track and there is a panning and a zooming in that turns these still and silent works into something approaching a cartoon I had never considered the implications of this before The painting stops being what it is, in fact, cannot remain what it is on the screen, it stops being an object that the artist created so as to speak for itself, and now requires someone to mediate between it and us, to either speak over it explain it or to orchestrate it quite literally, with music so that we are taught the proper way to read this painting.I ve been thinking a lot about how we read paintings and images, particularly after reading a book called Reading Images the grammar of visual design It is interesting that in that book it is clear that linguistic grammar has been used as a way to structure our response to the grammar of images quite effectively, I think but this is almost counter intuitive If we have had aimmediate relationship with images than with written text, why is it that we need to use the organising principles associated with written texts so as to seek to understand images Why doesn t that work the other way around I know in part this is because language has been formally codified, but this, again, raises the question of why images are so resistant to such codification Why would it be daft to explain what a verb is by reference to Mona Lisa s eyebrows The relationship between being naked being without clothes and being nude is presented here in what I take to be feminist art criticism A nude is not merely someone without clothes it is almost invariably a female and she is also on display, an object In many ways she is not really the protagonist of the painting, even when she is the only person in the painting the other person that is always present is the anonymous male viewer towards whom she is on display He shows image after image of nude women, and even while being embraced, they are turned to the viewer, turned to their true lover, their fantasy lover, for not only are they the screen on which we project our lust, but also the reason for our weaknesses they are, in the end, to be lusted over and to blame No wonder they are invariably passive and languid After corrupting the whole of male humanity, how could they not look exhausted And that is actually the point it is only today that a painting can be seen by quite so many people They were never intended to be seen other than by the very few Today paintings are pretty much what Plato said of them, representations of representations but as such they are a demonstration of just how wealthy the owner really was Paintings put on display the wealth of their owners and that was a large part of what had been their purpose Here s me, and here s the missus, and we are standing in front of our house, this is our bedroom, these are the oranges we have shipped in from Spain, this is our cow and, despite the late summer sun setting, these are our furs The last program in the series looks at advertising and how it uses and distorts the language of paintings, to which it is the last dying breathe of a tradition spanning back 500 years In oil painting we are looking at the current wealth of the owners there is a now ness about these paintings this is what I look like now, this is what I own now the fact that it is always then in images is something everyone has becomeaware of now we have cameras and something Barthes explains beautifully in his Camera Lucida Time stops in the image, and as such all images are images of death Life immediately marches away from them, leaving them as pure memory So, paintings are always about the present and, as such, thus also immediately about the past the present being just the past in waiting.But marketing images are always about the future, never about the present Selling something is about creating a desire and that desire is not here and now, it is sometime soon In many ways advertising doesn t sell products it sells envy and desire As he points out, the rich people in oil paintings are not glamorous glamour is beside the point To be glamorous the viewer needs to want to emulate the people they see in the images but the people who own paintings see themselves so, there is no need for glamour To sell product you need to sell a fantasy and that fantasy needs to be just out of reach, but obtainable though an exchange not actually part of the image, an exchange of money for a good, but that exchange is the point of the image That capitalism needs such constant exchanges and that advertising creates the desires that fuel these exchanges is the open secret of our society That said, I d never considered the relationship with time that this creates before how, to be economically valid units, we need to be constantly living in a fantasy future, while also being prepared to put up with just about any boredom in our all too prosaic present No wonder advertisement is uninterested in now, it needs to be it needs to negate now for what is to come The book also draws a distinction between how we advertise to the working class the promised transformation is based on Cinderella and the middle class the promised transformation is based on The Enchanted Palace for the working class buying this one product will be enough to transform you into the princess, for the middleclass investing in this bank will bring you all of the good things in life, which are, of necessity, an ensemble.There is so much to think about in this tiny book and this short series of films I watch shows like this and I think, imagine what television could have been but, of course, it could never have been anything of the kind This is very much the exception that proves the rule So, to see what television could never have been allowed to be, watch this and then go back to reading books Way of Seeing, John Berger 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 Way of Seeing, John Berger 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 2013 1388 77 9789649461748 20 1390 160 9789642763528 1393 122 9786006955278 I am not the audience for this book, mainly because I ve already read andor less digested the handful of essays and ideas on which it is based The seven chapters break down fairly simply 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 I am not the audience for this book, mainly because I ve already read andor less digested the handful of essays and ideas on which it is based The seven chapters break down fairly simply 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 need to use the fact that we encounter works of art differently to undermine the ruling class s privilege and the specialized experts who are the clerks of the nostalgia of a ruling class in decline That s on page 32 Part of me, a large part, laments the fact that you d never get that published today, not even on a website Another part of me laments the stupidity of intellectuals who put their faith in the inherent goodness of The People The People does not have a good track record when it comes to art appreciation That s not to say that people can t learn to appreciate art, only that We are no better and no worse than the ruling class was We need to learn, we need to be taught, you can t do that if you assume that We are inherently able to do the right thing 2 3 Women are depicted differently from men, and, frankly, not in ways that are healthy for anyone, but particularly not for women I agree Which makes it breathtaking to see the authors get so many things wrong, either intentionally cutting short the bible verse in which God punishes Eve and Adam stupidly non Western art forms show women as active participants in sex, so that are isn t morally dubious or in ways that are, ahem, temporally bound Hair is associated with sexual power, with passion Seventies 5 Oil paintings are bourgeois and generally not morally okay Holbein s Ambassadors is read as an example of this the incredible distorted skull in the painting is the exception which proves the rule of oil paintings rather than, you know, showing that oil paintings can be self critical, as are most good artworks of any kind In general, the lesson of this book is that all art is bad for you, except the pieces that the authors of this book like They like pieces by artists who can plausibly be turned into radicals, because only radicals can be interesting Franz Hals William Blake They don t discuss the 20th century at all I know they know that twentieth century art exists perhaps, as good Benjaminian Marxists, they don t like abstraction or difficulty They re also very uncomfortable with religious art, and want to group, e.g., Ambrosius Benson s Mary Magdalene with the absurd and or pornographic Magdalene of later times, rather than admitting the rather obvious differences Benson s is rich, but not, how can I put this naked and disheveled Since the authors have a hard time saying what they actually like vs what they suspect is oppressive , you get idiocies like this Rembrandt s famous late portrait shows a man for whom all has gone except a sense of the question of existence, of existence as a question A little thought would show that this is the sort of conservative pablum Great Artists have been serving up for generations 6 7 Advertizing uses art to make you think you want things you don t want and that you can get them, so you don t need to think about what you really want, e.g.,time away from the office This is true In sum I was sucked in by the idea that this was a book about understanding art It is not It is critical theory for high school readers Good for what it is, but extremely narrow in scope, and quite harmful for anyone who swallows it whole rather than taking a few minutes to worry away at its assumptions Harmful because those who accept it will say silly things, and because those who read it and reject it out of hand due to the rhetoric, bad arguments, or conceptual confusion won t be challenged to, you know, care about other people Humorous aspect of this book it makes a big deal about how it was written by a group of people, because, you know, individuals are bad, and groups are good You ll note that the book is sold as a book by John Berger You can draw the conclusion First of all, this entire book is set in bold I don t know what crazy crazyman let that through the gate at Penguin but I just felt I had to point it out right away It s still worth reading.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 publ First of all, this entire book is set in bold I don t know what crazy crazyman let that through the gate at Penguin but I just felt I had to point it out right away It s still worth reading.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 publicity as it s exclusively referred to in this book that has me thinking Advertising not only needs you to want this shirt, this car, the entire industry must endeavor to narrow the scope of your desires to make you amenable to the culture The mindset must always be a future, better you achieved through important purchases The essay is horrifying enough until you realise that it s thirty years old, and this is now only one facet of a business that s grown muchinsidious The ads shown are almost quaint in their straight sell 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 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 likely turn to youtube and try to catch an episode or two, and hopefully find it as fascinating as this book Bravo John If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review 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 informatio If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review 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 is Even a reproduction hung on a wall is not comparable in this respect for in the original the silence and stillness permeate the actual material, the paint, in which one follows the traces of the painter s immediate gestures This has the effect of closing the distance in time between the painting of the picture and one s own act of looking at it In this special sense all paintings are contemporary In Ways of Seeing by John Berger I find it strange when someone tells me they re attached to a certain painter and that painter in question is a genius the definition of genius is fairly broad, so one person s definition might not be another s I haven t fully formed my argument, haven t pin pointed what it is that niggles at me I think essentially the problem is that I attach genius in other areas of human endeavour such as science or music or literature, to advancement To pushing forward into new frontiers to problem solving, to presenting the world in a different way I suppose Cubism might meet those criteria, but a lot of Picasso s work seems purely derivative of existing art work and artists e.g Duchamp, Cezanne, Matisse, and especially African art and children s art and he worked backwards into flatness, primitivism and naivety He was certainly innovative and good at seeing and pulling together different visual stimuli into new combinations If you re into Art and Painting in particular, you can the rest of the review elsewhere If you are really impatient, you may go and see Trevor s brilliant review for this book Otherwise you may wait a few weeks for mine I don t think it would be fair to review the book without seeing the documentary If you are really impatient, you may go and see Trevor s brilliant review for this book Otherwise you may wait a few weeks for mine I don t think it would be fair to review the book without seeing the documentary 2007 wrote This book, based on a television series, explores how the art world of now has come to be by exploring what art was to humans in the past The theories presented are very interesting and are posed with pictorial references that do very well to prove points One interesting chapter deals exclusively with the Nude in art overtime Overtime it has been reviled, reveared, copied, censored, hidden, hoarded and abstracted Another great chapter deals in the context in which people see ar 2007 wrote This book, based on a television series, explores how the art world of now has come to be by exploring what art was to humans in the past The theories presented are very interesting and are posed with pictorial references that do very well to prove points One interesting chapter deals exclusively with the Nude in art overtime Overtime it has been reviled, reveared, copied, censored, hidden, hoarded and abstracted Another great chapter deals in the context in which people see art, in contrast to how they might have been meant to see it by the artist Many pieces are painted as singular wall decorations, but now are hanging in museums next to a hundred other of these decorations Overtime people now view art online or in sections of video, where a director controls the viewers eyes as what to see through camera tricks and narration The chapter contemplates and guesses how this might change to experience of art over time Changing from entertainment, to ascholarly subject A very interesting read John Berger sWays of Seeing,based on a four part 1972 BBC documentary series of the same name, is considered one of the most influential and accessible works of writing about art in the English language and rightly so Consisting of four textual essays and three picture essays bereft of text, this book deconstructs the dominant cultural gaze towards art and connects it with the way we regard and ascribe meaning, both to works of art and to the world around us Particularly insightful, John Berger sWays of Seeing,based on a four part 1972 BBC documentary series of the same name, is considered one of the most influential and accessible works of writing about art in the English language and rightly so Consisting of four textual essays and three picture essays bereft of text, this book deconstructs the dominant cultural gaze towards art and connects it with the way we regard and ascribe meaning, both to works of art and to the world around us Particularly insightful, even path breaking, is the essay on the tradition of the Nude and how it relates to the power and gender dynamics between the surveyed and the surveyor It is here that Berger illustrates the social existence of men as subjects and women as objectsA woman must continually watch herself She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another 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 sightThe distinction created here between nakedness and nudity is also notableTo be naked is to be oneself To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become a nude Nakedness reveals itself Nudity is placed on displayOne of the most important tasks performed inWays of Seeingis that it democratises art and meaning making, freeing it from the mystification of the art critic and the exclusive enjoyment of the status quo a function also performed, albeit differently, by the invention of camera and the possibility of reproduction both ideas dealt with in the first essay in this volume I also found the essay on the Publicity Image and Advertising to be a particularly important theoretical intervention, revealing publicity as both a tradition of continuity and a break from the oil painting as a methodical construction of a new aspirational way of seeing while seeing the same things prosperity and happiness , situating envy and glamour as its centerpiece Despite being written in the 1970s,Ways of Seeingcontinues to be a thoroughly important and relevant read, well into the second decade of the 21st century I would, however, advise a word of caution with regards to its eurocentrism and certain incorrect notions about art in the East, especially with regards women and sexuality in some places Note on the Penguin Edition Given that one of the chief aims of this book is to demystify and democratise art appreciation, it makes sense that this book appears as a paperback instead of thethematically appropriate coffee table format However, what makes no sense whatsoever is that the entire book is set in a headache inducing bold sans serif font My second reading of this book was from an e copy, but the typeset was still bold and only marginally less annoying Moreover, I m glad that I read this in an age when paintings can be looked up on the internet, because the miniature black and white reproductions printed in the book are barely decipherable, let alone offering a chance for the kind of assessment this book recommends The Penguin paperback edition ofWays of Seeingis paradoxically at odds with the book s intrinstic argument for accessibility a visual iteration of the value divide between authors and publishers if you will This book though initially written in 1972 is still relevant to the reader today especially the essays dealing with the way women are seen in society It is composed of seven essys, four use words and images, three only images It discusses how women are view in society with an emphasis and concentration on European or Western culture The images are from ads and famous European paintings Being that I work in a museum and see paintings all day long this aspect interests me in particular.Basical This book though initially written in 1972 is still relevant to the reader today especially the essays dealing with the way women are seen in society It is composed of seven essys, four use words and images, three only images It discusses how women are view in society with an emphasis and concentration on European or Western culture The images are from ads and famous European paintings Being that I work in a museum and see paintings all day long this aspect interests me in particular.Basically the book is saying that in our European based culture women are objects, men are subjects Men survey, women are surveyed Since women are always on display in our society, they adjust their behaviour in order to please and fit in with our male dominated society.I reference this book many times in my own personal writings What Mr Berger has written still has value today Actually in many ways not much has changed for women We in the USA and Western Europe are a little better off because we can work, make money and have legal rights but that is not true for women in the rest of the world Living in a Democratic or secular society does give womencontrol over their lives as opposed to dictatorships and theocracies However even in the United States our actions as women and men are based on social constructs and society s defintions of how men and women should behave towards each other Even how women view and interact with each other to the point that women are very competitive, jealous and vindictive in order to get or keep a man But that is another story for discussion in the essays I have written

Paperback  ô Ways of Seeing PDF Ò Ways of  Kindle -
  • Paperback
  • 176 pages
  • Ways of Seeing
  • John Berger
  • English
  • 13 March 2019
  • 0140135154