Discussion Question #2

Viewing Questions

John Berger’s Ways of Seeing Episode 1

After you watch episode 1 of Ways of Seeing (or even while you are watching it), provide short answers to the questions below. 

  1.  One of the first points John Berger makes is that the act of seeing something is not as objective as we might at first think. Instead, he argues that what we see is conditioned by habits and conventions. What does Berger mean when he says that the process of seeing is not “natural,” that it is shaped by habits and conventions? What kinds of habits and conventions shape the ways we see and how do they do this? Why is this significant when we think about what artworks like paintings mean for viewers?
  • Berger means that’s we usually tent to look at art in think that everything that’s observing its natural, but our eyes can’t capture everything at one time, For example Like a Camera it can only capture a certain role/moment at a time. Our eye is the main to analyze something them send a note/message to our brain that keeps a note about an object we look at or even a movie that we tent to remember what happened after watching it. The artwork was really important in present and the past because like for example in religion they don’t have a camera at that time so they use artwork to spread and tell the stories that’s why we tend to know what happens after so many years because of artwork that can’t disappear.

2. According to Berger, how has the camera changed our senses of perception? How has this device changed our engagement with works of art? Conversely, Berger describes the experience of being in the presence of an authentic artwork–at a museum, for instance–in terms of “stillness” and “silence.” What does he mean by this? According to Berger, why is seeing an artwork in a museum different from seeing it on a screen or in a book?

  •  According to what Berger stated in the video painting and eye can only be analyzed at a time. But the camera can recreate the artwork or even customize it on your preference and can be able to show an artwork all over the work by the camera image. Like for example, he stated that the camera can reproduce the image that the camera capture such as rare act work that people can only visualize unperson. Seeing an original artwork in person can be more detailed because taking a picture and analyzing the picture won’t do justice, In order to experience the workmanship of a painting it has to be analyzed unperson to get the feeling on what the artist might want to express.

3. What does Berger mean when he describes reproductions of paintings becoming a “form of information?” Paraphrase what he means by his idea of “talking with reproductions.” What is the significance of this?

  • Berger means that reproduction of artwork destroys the original meaning of the painting for example in the video he stated that “National Gallery sells more reproduction of this Leonardo cartoon than of any other picture”, meaning people Tent to buy replica so they can hang it on their room that destroys the original meaning and the moment people admire looking at the painting unperson rather then getting a replica copy.