Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series Paperback – 25 Oct 1990
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About the Author
John Berger was born in London in 1926. He is well known for his novels & stories as well as for his works of nonfiction, including several volumes of art criticism. His first novel, "A Painter of Our Time", was published in 1958, & since then his books have included the novel "G.", which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and he lives in a small village in the French Alps.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book itself is comprised of six independent, and yet linked, essays. The first textual essay opens with the words 'Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak'. This essay sets the scene for all of the following essays. It identifies that we live in a world of visual imagery. Three of the essays are collections of images. Many of these have been stripped of their titles or any explanation as to who or what they represent therefore allowing the spectator to interpret them themselves. Essay number 3 looks at the nude but more importantly how the social presence of a woman is different from that of a man. Essay number 5 looks at art though mainly explores the differences between looking at or seeing a painting and the desire to possess it. It draws on the work of the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss to illustrate this point. It then slowly teaches the reader how to deconstruct an image and goes into great depth to explain how every small detail is an integral part of the final overall reading. The final essay is about publicity. Which is as relevant now as it has ever been. Even in this technologically changing world publicity still uses the past to sell the future.Read more ›
However, this latest edition is a huge disappointment. Most of the illustrations are so poorly printed in my copycats to ruin the point. That paper quality and font size make the reading other text an endurance test and the production singularly betrays the genius o the original text.
Get an original second hand. This latest version is a disgrace.
Looking back, the most memorable book that I read in school was this one.
It lived up to its title and gave me another way of seeing.
So much of school is about preparing people to lead dull 9 to 5 lives in offices, hospitals etc. as if they were working in some 19th century factory.
This book opened the door to creativity and independent thought, something that none of the other textbooks ever did.
Anyone who has travelled in a less-well-off country that has a functioning advertising industry (Greece, for instance) will have noticed that billboard ads there tend to be like early 70s ads in richer countries: they promote a dream of luxury, wealth and sophistication. Ads in the UK and Ireland are aimed at people who already think of themselves as reasonably wealthy and sophisticated, and so UK and Irish ads tend to promote an idea of the consumer as being rootsy, down-to-earth, unpretentious, sensible - all the things that we secretly fear we aren't. The tactic is different, but the strategy (to play on the consumer's hopes and fears about what kind of person they are) is the same.
Berger's work is hardly full of undigested chunks of Marxist doctrine, unlike the far more impenetrable and far less useful work of (e.g.Read more ›
I'm not an art historian (I study literature) but the two are intrinsically interlinked and quite often the scenes "painted" in an eighteenth-century text (that's how they termed it then) correspond to the artistry of the time. With this in view, this book has provided me with an entirely new way of viewing literary scenes. In fact, it's provided me with a whole new way of viewing the world. The essays within the text seek to raise questions in the reader (and acknowledge that they are doing this) and they do. I loved the essay on publicity. It's so true - advertising seeks to sell us what we don't need and society renders us valueless if we are perceived as not having "stuff" or money to spend on it. Conversely, however, we are made poorer by spending our money on this "stuff" we just don't need. The argument about holiday adverts was enlightening: "The entire world becomes a setting for the fulfilment of publicity’s promise of the good life. The world smiles at us. It offers itself to us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I talk about this to everyone I know, I love the book it was very helpful during my art degree but... What should have cost a little over 3 pound cost me £25! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jodders
bought this as part of my reading list, it arrived the next day but the book is a bit blandPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer