About Looking Epub Ú Paperback

About Looking Epub Ú Paperback


10 thoughts on “About Looking

  1. Trevor Trevor says:

    One of the strangest things in life is the way that things you had never heard of only a couple of months before can suddenly appear everywhere Now while that is uite to be expected with say that K Pop guy pretending to ride a horse I’m interested in things like the most famous article in this collection Why Look At Animals? I only really discovered Berger last year and his seminal work Ways of Seeing Then my daughter was doing her honours year and was doing research into Japanese food and universal food taboos A lot of her research involved the images used to advertise meat in Japan – essentially lots of animals telling you just how delicious and nutritious they are Remember that pig like animal at the start of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe that was bred to want to be eaten? I’ve a feeling the Japanese might not uite get the rather uncomfortable joke involved in that chapterBut suddenly this Berger article has been mentioned everywhere I’ve seen it mentioned at least four or five times in the last six months And rightly so too as it is a wonderful piece of writing He starts by saying that there was once a time when there was a symmetry in how we looked at animals and how animals looked at us However this symmetry was never really complete – as we have language and therefore self consciousness But language is an interesting thing too – there are many who claim that language is a conseuence of metaphor – and that the first metaphors for humans were almost invariably animal metaphors This is really interesting as totems form some of our earliest art forms – cave paintings and wooden sculptures The relationship between humans and animals was once something of remarkable significance and a person’s totem animal said something fundamental about the person something we would struggle to say today in any form As he says repeatedly in his essay there was a time when the boundaries between what is human and what is animal were almost impossible to separateThings tended to change after Descartes – this was due to the 'fact' that animals lacked souls and so were incapable of thinking and therefore of having a true ground for their existence his ‘I think therefore I am’ This made animals merely machines The continuation of this into Darwinian evolution – where again animals are too often seen as lower rungs on a ladder leading up to us – alienates them again from us The industrial revolution is in large part a movement away from animals as ‘companions’ as similar forms They have become instead inputs Factory farms being the clearest example of this The horse behind the plough has an existence and a necessity a reality which simply doesn’t exist for the caged chicken The only animals we have ‘real’ relationships with now are our pets – but pets are anything but real animals We have made them into strange humans – mute and generally completely isolated from their own ‘kind’ – now they have no kind Whatever they are they are not really animal and yet not really human eitherAnd then there is us – propped up in our cages sitting in our offices He uotes Taylor and his vision of a class of workers as being ‘dumb as oxen’ As animals have become soulless in our brave new world so have weBut what is particularly interesting is that as animals have been moved and to the periphery of human existence moved out of our day to day lives they have been placed into zoos This is the place where we go to look at animals now – but what is it that we see? Not really the animals Generally what we really see is a lethargic lump sleeping in a corner Sure the cages have become realistic now than they were when this was written – but as good as the cages may become what you are not looking at is the animal The animal can only be the animal in its environment In zoos animals have become something uite other – like pets before them they have become stripped of their real meaningThis book would have been much harder to read in the days before google Now when he mentions a painting or and artist I’ve never heard of before I can uickly google them and there is their work This beats the crap out of the terrible black and white reproductions supplied here by Bloomsbury This year South Australia and then Canberra will be holding an exhibition of Turner’s paintings I’m pretty excited Somehow I’m going to get over to see the exhibition in one or other of these galleries Anyway there is a wonderful article here on Turner He says that Turner’s father was a barber and that that being a much bloody occupation then he claims that many of his paintings are about water turning to blood a Biblical reference from Revelations and links this too to his use of the palette knife – and when you think of his sunsets over water There is an amazing discussion of his painting Snow Storm was actually in a storm at sea just like this – not just in it he actually had himself tied to a mast so as to be able to observe it You know like Ulysses Turner may have been seriously up himself but he sure could paintThis is a short book and some of it was uite slow reading for me – I’m not as familiar with some of the artists as I should be – but this guy really can think He caught me a few times with my ‘oh yes of course’ response one of my favourite responses to any book Lovely essays by a fascinating man


  2. Brynn Brynn says:

    All theories of ultimate origin are only ways of better defining what followed 8The photographic moment for Strand is a biographical or historic moment whose duration is ideally measured not by seconds but by its relation to a lifetime Strand does not pursue an instant but encourages a moment to arise as one might encourage a story to be told 47What served in place of the photograph; before the camera's invention? The expected answer is the engraving the drawing the painting The revealing answer might be memory What photographs do out there in space was previously done with reflection 54For the photographer this means thinking of her or himself not so much as a reporter to the rest of the world but rather as a recorder for those involved in the events photographed The distinction is crucial 62The virtuoso performance of the oil painting assembles all aspects of the visible to conduct them to a single point the point of view of the empirical onlooker And it insists that such a view constitutes visibility itself Graphic work with its limited means is modest; it only claims a single aspect of visual experience and therefore is adaptable to different uses 85Thus there is a close parallel between pictorial representations of space and the ways in which stories are told 90It would then be far less possible to localize his work either geographically or historically emotions are always general than circumstances 101Thus each painting offers not an instant view a postcard but an amalgam of visual experience a seuence of memories 104A modern city however is not only a place it is also in itself long before it is painted a series of images a circuit of messages A city teaches and conditions by its appearances its facades and its plan 104Each window frames the locus of private or social activity Each frame contains the sign of a lived experience The triptych as a whole assembles the sum of these signs of experience which are massed together according to a visible law of accumulation brick upon brick storey upon storey window by window The city has grown like a honeycomb unlike a honeycomb each cell each window looks different Yet these differences which must express individual memories hopes choices despair cancel each other out and each set is always replaceable 105No artist's work is reducible to the independent truth; like the artist's life or yours or mine the life's work constitutes its own valid or worthless truth Explanations analyses interpretation are no than frames or lenses to help the spectator focus his attention sharply on the work The only justification for criticism is that it allows us to see clearly 141No wonder that what Turner admired in painting was the ability to cast doubt to throw into mystery Rembrandt he said admiringly 'threw a mysterious doubt over the meanest piece of common' 152There is nothing like alcohol for making one believe that the self one is presenting is one's true up to now always hidden self 172All art which is based on a close observation of nature eventually changes the way nature is seen Either it confirms strongly an already established way of seeing nature or it proposes a new way 196All events exist as definable events by virtue of their relation to other events 204


  3. Amari Amari says:

    I had some difficulty with the longer essays in the first section of the book but strangely I discovered after limping through a few pages at a time week after week that I was reading the book with too great attention I needed to take it somehow less seriously in order to receive the intended content and not become mired in the individual sentences I find many of Berger's provocative social statements very attractive and in eual measure tough Even with my spotty knowledge of art history I was able to gain significant insight into the artists discussed in the short essays I was not terribly impressed by the long response to Sontag's On Photography which book I found utterly maddening The only large problem I had with this book is that Vintage did a horrible lousy job of reproducing the examples of photos and paintings The pictures are so poor that they might as well not be there at all One really cannot even make them out in most cases I don't know what excuse there could be for thisOverall a very worthwhile read and one that encouraged me to consider varying my style of reading in certain sorts of texts


  4. Adam Adam says:

    If you're new to Berger or to the art world in general I recommend skipping this and instead picking up Ways of Seeing That collection is far accessible to a general audience About Looking is full of Berger's insightful and impressive commentary on art and photography And the collection Uses of Photography in this work is a good read for those who make their living behind the lens Where this edition fails for me is in its lack of illustrative plates My knowledge of art history is limited so when Berger cites a painting I don't have an image stored in my memory to attach to his essay I need to see what he's talking aboutAnd I have mixed feelings about the final essay Field Berger's observations are right on but I'm not sure I want the aesthetic experience of being in a field or witnessing the action in an adjacent field to be a conscious experience; I would sooner experience it viscerally and intellectualize it only in retrospect


  5. Daniel Wright Daniel Wright says:

    When explaining a work of art Berger manages to be exuisitely precise and endlessly suggestive His words somehow translate the visual beauty into beauty on the page and leave the reader that same feeling of having glimpsed something unworldly and beyond explanation


  6. John Madera John Madera says:

    John Berger's About Looking is a smart impassioned elouent and illuminating collection of essays Highlights for me the essay Why Look at Animals a reread; the section on photography; and the essays on Francis Bacon Giacometti and Rodin Suffused throughout is Berger's welcome Marxist humanism reflected in his keen attention to and advocacy for the oppressed and otherwise marginalized


  7. Indfusion Indfusion says:

    Well I bought this book for the photo essays I loved it for all the essays Very insightful and well written it as good criticism does made me feel my ignorance of that which I didn't know which was a lot and made me want to learn I should have read it before traveling Paris and Florence I could have appreciated my museum visits all the and learned where to look I will read his other art books as well


  8. Ryan Ryan says:

    I say 4 stars but I really am not much of a judge of art criticism essays The most famous essay in John Berger's About Looking is about animals and how we struggle to see them now relative to the past We go to a zoo to see animals but when we arrive they are absolutely marginal in their cages The animals are unable to see the world as it no longer can touch them and so they are unable to see us What are we really looking at?Some uotes rather than notesThe possible contradictions of the war photograph now become apparent It is generally assumed that its purpose is to awaken concern The most extreme examples show moments of agony in order to extort the maximum concern Such moments whether photographed or not are discontinuous with all other moments They exist by themselves But the reader who has been arrested by the photograph may tend to feel this discontinuity as his own personal moral inadeuacy italicsAnd as soon as this happens even his sense of shock is dispersed his own moral inadeuacy may now shock him as much as the crimes being committed in the war Either he shrugs off this sense of inadeuacy as being only too familiar or else he thinks of performing a kind of penance—of which the purest example would be to make a contribution to OXFAM or UNICEFIn both cases the issue of the war which has caused that moment is effectively depoliticized The picture becomes evidence of the general human condition It accuses nobody and everybodyFrom Photographs of Agony 1972But then one has to ask why does the primitive refuse the tradition? Because he knows already that his own lived experience which is forcing him to make art has no place in that traditionFrom The Primitive and the Professional 1976Both Francis Bacon and Walt Disney make propositions about the alienated behaviour of our societies; and both in a different way persuade the viewer to accept what is Disney makes alienated behaviour look funny and sentimental and therefore acceptable Bacon interprets such behaviour in terms of the worst possible having already happened and so proposes that both refusal and hope are pointless The surprising formal similarities of their work — the way limbs are distorted the overall shapes of bodies the relation of figures to background and to one another the use of neat tailor's clothes the gesture of hands the range of colours used — are the result of both men having complementary attitudes to the same crisisFrom Francis Bacon and Walt Disney 1972All art which is based on a close observation of nature eventually changes the way nature is seen Either it confirms strongly an already established way of seeing nature or it proposes a new way Until recently a whole cultural process was involved; the artist observed nature his work had a place in the culture of his time and that culture mediated between man and nature In post industrial societies this no longer happens Their culture runs parallel to nature and is completed insulated from it Anything which enters that culture has to sever its connections with nature Even natural sights views have been reduced in consumption to commoditiesFrom Romaine Loruet 1974 About Looking is about looking—the title says it all really But it was disturbing to me to realize how blind I am to visual art and how opaue its critical discourse is to me Each of the insights I've included in these uotes stood out to me primarily because they contain thoughts or analytic structures I've already been exposed to We exist in bubbles we're barely aware of


  9. Uma Dwivedi Uma Dwivedi says:

    berger is very smart and there is a fierce current of love for humanity that veins through this exactingly tender book


  10. Jase Jase says:

    Why Look at Animals? and Between Two Colmars are both stellar essays that since reading I think about freuently The rest I could take or leave


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About Looking [PDF / Epub] ☃ About Looking ✑ John Berger – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk As a novelist art critic and cultural historian John Berger is a writer of dazzling elouence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle powerful critiue of the canons of our civilization In As a novelist art critic and cultural historian John Berger is a writer of dazzling elouence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle powerful critiue 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 uestions Berger uietly but fundamentally alters the vision of anyone who reads his work.

  • Paperback
  • 224 pages
  • About Looking
  • John Berger
  • English
  • 06 January 2016
  • 9780679736554

About the Author: John Berger

John Peter Berger was an English art critic novelist painter and author His novel G won the Booker Prize and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing written as an accompaniment to a BBC series is often used as a college textLater he was self exiled to continental Europe living between the french Alps in summer and the suburbs of Paris in winter Since then his production has incre.