Monday, February 6, 2017

John Berger

Image result for john berger ways of seeing

John Berger's Ways of Seeing speaks of the logic behind visual understanding and how we as the viewer have different perspectives. This explains why some will find others attractive and then others will not. In terms of art, we are depicted an image through the time and setting of an artist. When a camera depicts a painting, it defeats its uniqueness and makes it less special. My favorite part of Berger's chapter is the opening line, "Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak." I find this relate to how everyone's perspective should be valued and listened to. It's amazing to me that two individuals can be exposed to the same image or scene and have completely different interpretations and opinions as to whether something is beautiful or not. My friends and I continually talk about how crazy it is to believe that we as humans can never really know how other's view the world. Whether my idea of the color blue is the same as the person standing next to me. Or whether the image I see in the mirror is the same as the person who views my face on a day to day basis. Berger's publishings also discusses how the relationship between what we see and what we know can never be truly settled. He uses the example of a sunset. How gorgeous the sun looks when it's setting on the horizon, yet, it is actually the action of the earth turning that we are exposed to. Using words to depict this action to someone that's let say is, is blind, would never amount to the image of a beautiful sunset. "The way we see things is affected by what we know or believe... to look is an act of choice." This sort of choice of image can be seen through our interpretations of art as well. If I know more about a painting and what time period it is from, providing me with some background of the circumstance, I am prone to a better or more educated understanding of that painting. Berger says there is a gap between words and sight. I believe this gap is unsolvable because as humans, we are subject to our own beliefs. There can never really be a concert explanation for anything.