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RTA 310 -011

24 Jan 2018

Ways
of Seeing John Berger

This
article written by John Berger focuses on the ways in which we view art as well
as how women are perceived. He starts by stating that “the way we see things is
affected by what we know or what we believe” and that “we never look at just
one thing; we are always looking in relation between things and ourselves” (Berger
8, 9). When viewing art, he states “the way people look at it is based on the
assumptions people have learned over the years about art.  There are many factors and assumptions which
influence the ways in which people view art such as “Beauty, Truth, Genius,
Civilization, Form, Status, Taste, etc.” (Berger 11). This means that the way
people view art is subjective to the person.

Originally,
perspective, as he explains it “makes the single eye the centre of the visible
world” (Berger 19). However, with the invention of the camera, it changed the
way in which images were viewed. It offered multiple angles and perspectives
depending on the camera and the lens. He states that when a camera reproduces a
painting “it destroys the idea that images are timeless” (Berger 18). The true
beauty of the images is destroyed and people get a different view of the image
when it is taken through the lens of a camera. Since the photographer is able
to change the lighting and the angle, this evokes a different range of emotions
from the original image. He mentions that because of the camera, “the painting
now travels to the spectator, rather than the spectator to the painting” (Berger
20). The painter’s original feelings and purpose are lost and viewers are no longer able to feel the same emotions
when viewing a reproduction of the picture. With the increasing technology, the
interpretation of the pictures continuously changes and move further away from
the original intent of the image.

In
chapter 3, John Berger reflects on the subject of women. He starts by explaining
that the social presence of a woman is different from a man. A woman is always
aware of every action she performs and is self-conscious. The difference between
men and woman according to Berger is that “woman is blamed and is punished by
being subservient to the man” (Berger 48), they are seen as being inferior to
men. The actions of women are always being investigated and proves how she wants
to be looked upon whereas the actions of men are regarded as reactions. Through
a series of post-Renaissance and European paintings and images, Berger examines
the difference between the naked and nude, and how women were portrayed as
objects. He argues the ways in which femininity are understood and how women live
their lives. Berger concludes by saying that ” this unequal relationship is so deeply
assimilated in our culture and in the consciousness of women” (Berger 63) even
in today’s society through different sources of media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works
Cited

Berger,
John. Ways of Seeing. British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin
Books,

waysofseeingwaysofseeing.com/ways-of-seeing-john-berger-5.7.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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