Monday, February 6, 2017

John Berger “Ways of Seeing"

“No other kind of relic or text from the past can offer such a direct testimony about the world which surrounded other people at other times. In this respect images are more precise and richer than literature” (10). This quote really resonated with me; because I feel that it in some ways contradicts some of the previous points Berger makes. For example Berger points out that how we, as humans, “see things is affected by what we know or what we believe… We only see what we look at” (8). I feel that these two points contradict each other. While an image is a powerful means of learning about the past, it only really offers us one person’s vision; we are only seeing what the artist wants us to see. We all have our own interpretational bias’ based on the individual events in our lives; all of which cause us to view the world differently. This phenomenon of interpretational bias is the reason I don’t feel images should be seen as the most powerful insight to history. I think they are important and can show us a lot, but they are also somewhat narrow in what they show us; we are not necessarily seeing the “whole picture.” 

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