Ways of Seeing By John Berger

For my detailed summary of this work I have kept it in a private pdf file.

Ways of Seeing – Berger 28May12 secure


In his seven essays Berger provides a context in which to read oil paintings.  Largely, Oil Paintings are about possessions, whether these are things or indeed women and landscapes.  In advertising, they relate to possessions that one desires compared with what one has in traditional oil paintings.  Historically, oil paintings were part of the rich but today they are more readily accessible in museums etc.

The arguments made in the text are understandable and make sense.  However, I would not arrive at these myself and indeed the pictorial essays are more difficult for me to read as some degree of knowledge is in fact required to make sense of the pictures he has chosen.

So, how does this relate to reading photographs?  Not sure how to apply this to photographs.  I am sure that many of the photographs of women have the same sort of interpretation – things of beauty to be desired and owned.  This interpretation may be limited to that by men.  There are however some that deny this interpretation.

With regard to other photographs, I am sure that many are not about possessions although advertising is.

Based on this will I be in a better place to interpret photographs, I am not sure, but I will certainly look at them through different eyes.  There is a long way to go to reading photographs or paintings with any degree of accuracy!


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