ways of seeing

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Taking full advantage of being stuck on a stuffy arriva train for an extra few hours, I read John Berger’s Ways of Seeing book. Only a small book but with so much inside, I was captivated from the first page. I usually find it quite hard to stay focused when reading but with this, I was intrigued with every question and idea.

“Each evening we see the sunset. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.”. Reflecting on why these words would stay with me over all other has thrown up many thoughts and ideas, some I’ve discarded and other have spiralled out to form other questions. One of the many thoughts was why do I find writing this blog so difficult and why do I shy away from certain interaction? The more this thought has grown and spread throughout my thought process the more I realise why these words are so special. I realise it describes me, my reason for choosing art, sometimes needing art to do my talking for me… I find articulating my feelings and thoughts very difficult even to myself, I need art to help with that expression, it forms and informs on who I am. When I write or speak, my thoughts or feelings become distorted. This becomes frustrating and difficult, so I find I don’t, instead I try to use other ways like drawing, photography or relating to quotes, music and film.

Another point which I particularly liked was about the view at which the painter/photographer has chosen. They have viewed something, whether that be in real life or their imagination and have reproduced it in a certain way. We, as the viewer, then see our own view of that reproduction. I really liked the way that was expressed in this book, because although I’m aware that everyone views something differently, i had never really given it much thought. In my Outside/Inside project, i am seeing the views of the cinematographer/producers and i am reproducing what i see.

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John Berger (2008) Ways of seeing, 2nd edition, London; British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books.

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