How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. "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 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.
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.
"In this incisive counter-polemic Peter Fuller underlines what is most valuable in Berger's criticism, while attacking the art ideologists who would negate the existence of any aesthetic experience. He succinctly agues the case for a materialistic understanding of art and its value which moves beyond ideology and permits one to confront the 'masterpiece', the work of art which breaks free from the norms of tradition and transcends its time."--back cover.
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.
What can Sociology add to our understanding of art? This volume brings together a range of respected scholars in the field who demonstrate the many ways in which sociology can add to our understanding of artistic issues. Covering all the major schools of thought, and dealing with many different art forms, the book offers the reader a comprehensive and accessible guide to an often complex area. It will be an invaluable resource for students seeking to understand sociology's contributions to the study of artistic and aesthetic issues.
The essays in this volume represent some of the best new thinking about the crucial relations between visual representation in film and human subjectivity. No amount of empirical research into the sociology of actual audiences will displace the desire to speculate about the effects of visual culture, and especially moving images, on viewing subjects. These notions of spectatorship, however hypothetical, become extremely compelling metaphors for the workings of vision within the institution of cinema. Viewing Positions examines the tradition of a centered, unitary, distanced, and objectifying spectator's gaze; investigates the period when film spectatorship as an idea began; and analyses gender- and sexuality-based challenges to the homogeneous classical theory of spectatorship. It makes available critical understandings of spectatorship that have, until now, largely eluded cinema studies.
In desperation, I look up into mum’s face. A small face – a loving face — And the lights go out. Her face is the last image I will ever see in my lifetime. Blind since the age of seven, Nick Gleeson has spent his life learning to ‘see’ without seeing. Growing up in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows, Nick’s young life was defined by touch and smell: learning the shape of each shoe so he knew left from right. Holding the huge, rough hand of his father. Smelling the well-worn vinyl in the family car. Gently feeling the smooth top and soft underbelly of a mushroom he has picked. When Nick meets Peter Bishop, Creative Director of Varuna, the Writers’ House many years later, he has led an amazing life of physical adventuring. He’s scaled basecamp at Everest and the top of Kilimanjaro; he’s been a Paralympic athlete, a marathon runner, a skydiver. And, most recently, he’s been on an expedition to the Simpson Desert. In a unique blend of memoir, conversation and insights into the writing process, together Peter and Nick have collaborated to share Nick’s compelling life journey with its many challenges, loves and losses. The Many Ways of Seeing is an inspiring true story about determination in the face of hardship, the importance of trust and friendship and the wonderful relationship between a mentor and writer.
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.