Ways of Seeing Episode #1



  1. Berger argues that whatever we see is conditioned by our habits and conventions, a process that is not natural. Our lifestyle, education, day to day activities and our cultural and societal norms unconsciously shapes our mind in forming our habits. Our habits and social conventions subconsciously influence how we see things. The perspective of a young child and an adult looking at a painting would have a big difference. The child’s direct interpretation and an adult more detail interpretation with their acquired experiences proves that what we see is conditioned and that it is not natural. Berger described perspective as reality formed from the appearance of an art by our eye. Eye being the center of visible world, exposes the world to us and influence in our habit development. Our ways of seeing and appearances of artwork conditioned by our habit forms the basis on which we interpret the artwork.


  1. Berger mentioned that our eyes can only be at one place at a time and our experiences are limited to what we see in front of us at that time. The camera has widened our perception and changed how appearance appear by maneuvering the movement of camera. The camera has brought paintings like Botticelli’s Venus and Mars into our rooms. The days of pilgrimage is over as images of paintings of holy sites travel to you. Our current attitude towards painting changed as the surrounding and atmosphere changed as it is made available for us on screens and books. The camera gave new meanings to the painting. Berger described that the authentic artwork in museum presents stillness and silence with its unchanging surrounding. This environment gives it an unbiased appearance, a feel of authenticity and its uniqueness. Without the influence of external effects, the stillness and silence occasionally presented in museum helps in forming a unique connection with the painting which is quite hard to get it from the distortion of painting seen on the screen or in a book.


  1. With the invention of camera, paintings have become available to public in many forms and shapes. The paintings are able to travel many places at the same time. It can be transmitted readily like news on television or a newspaper. It became like a form of information. The stillness of painting is lost and oddly gave the silent painting a voice determined by these media. Berger tries to explain that reproduced images are often used by us in recreating experience by giving it a voice that connect us to experiences we wanted. They are used like words by placing alongside snapshot and pictures from magazine to give it a new meaning, a meaning that is different from its original meaning.