Ways of Seeing is a key art-historical work that continues to provoke widespread debate. It is comprised of seven different essays, three of which are pictorial and the other containing texts and images. Berger first examines the relationship between seeing and knowing, discussing how our assumptions affect how we see a painting. He moves on to consider the role of women in artwork, particularly regarding the female nude. The third essay deals with oil painting looking at the relationship between subjects and ownership. Finally, Berger addresses the idea of ownership in a consumerist society, discussing the power of imagery in advertising, with particular regards to photography.
Examines the social implications and psychological impact of the images and conventions of modern and classical artists
"Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. "But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled." John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the (London) Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures." By now he has. "Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of the professional art critics . . . He is a liberator of images: and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation" -Peter Fuller, Arts Review "The influence of the series and the book . . . was enormous . . . It opened up for general attention to areas of cultural study that are now commonplace" -Geoff Dyer in Ways of Telling
Those born since the digital revolution, seem to have the hardest time re-imagining the role of photography in the world today. Thinking of photography as a visual language is the approach this book adopts to addresses this challenge.Considering photography in this way develops the metaphor of 'learning a language' when attempting to explain what photography can be, and what it can give a student in transferable creative and life skills. This begins with challenging the pre-conception that successful photography is defined by the successful single image or 'the good photograph'.The book emphasises the central role of narrative and visual storytelling through a technique of 'photosketching' to develop the building blocks of visual creativity and ultimately to craft successful bodies of photographic work.New Ways of Seeing explains how to both learn and teach photography as a visual language, appropriate for both professionals and students working today.
Cognitive neuroscience is a young field that has been incredibly successful in furthering our understanding of the human brain. Long before the emergence of this field, many of the same questions being posed within this field were asked by philosophers. So how much of this earlier work informs current theories of cognition? In many cases--too little. Yet how can we ignore thousands of years of philosophical thinking on the human mind? There are some questions about the human brain that are surely impossible to answer without considering what it "feels" like to see, what it "feels" like to think. Ways of Seeing is a unique collaboration between an eminent philosopher and a world famous neuroscientist. It focuses on one of the most basic human functions--vision. What does it mean to 'see'? It brings together electrophysiological studies, neuropsychology, psychophysics, cognitive psychology, and philosophy of mind. The first truly interdisciplinary book devoted to the topic of vision, this is a book will make a valuable contribution to the field of cognitive science.
As a novelist, essayist, and cultural historian, John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to his authority and potency posed by clay and flesh? And how does solitude inform the art of Giacometti? In asking these and other questions, Berger alters the vision of anyone who reads his work.
In Art and Representation, John Willats presents a radically new theory of pictures. To do this, he has developed a precise vocabulary for describing the representational systems in pictures: the ways in which artists, engineers, photographers, mapmakers, and children represent objects. His approach is derived from recent research in visual perception and artificial intelligence, and Willats begins by clarifying the key distinction between the marks in a picture and the features of the scene that these marks represent. The methods he uses are thus closer to those of a modern structural linguist or psycholinguist than to those of an art historian. Using over 150 illustrations, Willats analyzes the representational systems in pictures by artists from a wide variety of periods and cultures. He then relates these systems to the mental processes of picture production, and, displaying an impressive grasp of more than one scholarly discipline, shows how the Greek vase painters, Chinese painters, Giotto, icon painters, Picasso, Paul Klee, and David Hockney have put these systems to work. But this book is not only about what systems artists use but also about why artists from different periods and cultures have used such different systems, and why drawings by young children look so different from those by adults. Willats argues that the representational systems can serve many different functions beyond that of merely providing a convincing illusion. These include the use of anomalous pictorial devices such as inverted perspective, which may be used for expressive reasons or to distance the viewer from the depicted scene by drawing attention to the picture as a painted surface. Willats concludes that art historical changes, and the developmental changes in children's drawings, are not merely arbitrary, nor are they driven by evolutionary forces. Rather, they are determined by the different functions that the representational systems in pictures can serve. Like readers of Ernst Gombrich's famous Art and Illusion (still available from Princeton University Press), on which Art and Representation makes important theoretical advances, or Rudolf Arnheim's Art and Visual Perception, Willats's readers will find that they will never again return to their old ways of looking at pictures.
"How did modern Chinese painters see landscape? Did they depict nature in the same way as premodern Chinese painters? What does the artistic perception of modern Chinese painters reveal about the relationship between artists and the nation-state? Could an understanding of modern Chinese landscape painting tell us something previously unknown about art, political change, and the epistemological and sensory regime of twentieth-century China?Yi Gu tackles these questions by focusing on the rise of open-air painting in modern China. Chinese artists almost never painted outdoors until the late 1910s, when the New Culture Movement prompted them to embrace direct observation, linear perspective, and a conception of vision based on Cartesian optics. The new landscape practice brought with it unprecedented emphasis on perception and redefined artistic expertise. Central to the pursuit of open-air painting from the late 1910s right through to the early 1960s was a reinvigorated and ever-growing urgency to see suitably as a Chinese and to see the Chinese homeland correctly. Examining this long-overlooked ocular turn, Gu not only provides an innovative perspective from which to reflect on complicated interactions of the global and local in China, but also calls for rethinking the nature of visual modernity there."
Young Children, Pedagogy and the Arts is an innovative text that describes practices and research that cross all five strands of the arts—visual, drama, music, dance, and media—and illuminates ways of understanding children and their arts practices that go beyond the common traditions. The book: - Offers practical and rich illustrations of teachers’ and children’s work based on international research that integrates theory with practice; - Brings a critical lens to arts education; - Includes summaries, reflective questions, and recommended further readings with every chapter. Young Children, Pedagogy and the Arts provides a more nuanced understanding of the arts through an exploration of specific instances in which committed teachers and researchers are discovering what contemporary multimodal tools offer to young children. Chapters contain examples of ‘doing’ the arts in the early years, new ways of teaching, and how to use emerging technologies to develop multiliteracies, equity, agency, social and cultural capital, and enhance the learning and engagement of marginalized children.
'Language is a body, a living creature ... and this creature's home is the inarticulate as well as the articulate'. John Berger's work has revolutionized the way we understand visual language. In this new book he writes about language itself, and how it relates to thought, art, song, storytelling and political discourse today. Also containing Berger's own drawings, notes, memories and reflections on everything from Albert Camus to global capitalism, Confabulations takes us to what is 'true, essential and urgent'.
With this provocative and infinitely moving collection of essays, a preeminent critic of our time responds to the profound questions posed by the visual world. For when John Berger writes about Cubism, he writes not only of Braque, Léger, Picasso, and Gris, but of that incredible moment early in this century when the world converged around a marvelouis sense of promise. When he looks at the Modigiliani, he sees a man's infinite love revealed in the elongated lines of the painted figure. Ranging from the Renaissance to the conflagration of Hiroshima; from the Bosphorus to Manhattan; from the woodcarvers of a French village to Goya, Dürer, and Van Gogh; and from private experiences of love and of loss to the major political upheavals of our time, The Sense of Sight encourages us to see with the same breadth, courage, and moral engagement that its author does.