"Ways of Seeing" Reading Reaction
Reading the excerpt from â€œWays of Seeingâ€? by John Berger was quite a new experience for me. As I was reading it, it was almost as if I had to analyze each and every sentence or phrase for its inner meaning. However, this was interesting, because as I evaluated each phrase, Berger made me think about a lot of things, art in particular, in a whole new way.
Berger had a wonderful approach to defining the word â€˜perspectiveâ€™. Berger states that â€œeverything is in the eye of the beholderâ€? which, when I think about it, I donâ€™t think neither I nor anyone else could state that definition any better. After this, Berger proceeds to talk about the invention of the camera changing this definition. It was interesting for me to think about how perspectives could be different after this invention. Before the camera, â€˜perspectiveâ€™ was what only the individualâ€™s eye could see. With the invention of the camera, a personâ€™s â€˜perspectiveâ€™ can now also be what other eyes have seen. If my friend takes a picture and shows it to me, I now have a perspective of something that I physically did not see with my own two eyes, but I still have some â€˜perspectiveâ€™ on it.
Another interesting aspect to Bergerâ€™s article was his point that simple explanations or previous conclusions about images, paintings, and art can change how we, as individuals, view the image ourselves. For example, in van Goghâ€™s Wheatfield with Crows, seeing the picture by itself, I created a perception of the painting and formed my own conclusions about what he may have been thinking as he painted it. After seeing the painting with the explanation â€œthis is the last picture that Vincent van Gogh painted before he killed himselfâ€?, my perception and conclusions about van Goghâ€™s thoughts behind this painting changed completely.
It was fascinating to read about Bergerâ€™s ideas on original art. I did not by any means agree with everything he stated, however, I thought it was very interesting to hear his viewpoint on original art. He concluded that â€œoriginal art has lost its power through reproductionâ€?. He claims that in its place is a â€œlanguage of images and recreationsâ€?. I think original pieces still hold a lot of power, just based on the simple fact that they are originals. However, I do see his point on how reproduction in a way lessens the originality of the artwork. The originality only lies before the original piece, not before the reproductions. He also said that â€œart of the past has now become a political issueâ€?, which I couldnâ€™t agree more with. Art today seems to be about critics trying to figure out what the artist was thinking or trying to create, when that cannot really be done because so many other opinions have been formed around much famous artwork. One single opinion cannot really be â€˜correctâ€™. Art is now something we debate about, something political, not so much anymore is it something we enjoy and imagine about.
After this article I formed my own conclusion that our individual â€œWays of Seeingâ€? are solely based on experience. How we were raised, what we have seen, what we havenâ€™t seen, what we have experienced, what we want to experience, and what we believe all have a role in how we as individuals view the world around us.