Ways of Seeing

In Ways of Seeing, John Berger riffs off of Walter Benjamin’s famous essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” calling into question how and why images are used and disseminated; in particular, Berger discusses capitalism, the female body, and “fine art.” The internet is clearly the next step in a series of progressions of how information is transmitted, and has been held up as a bastion of information democracy. The personal computer has revolutionized how we view, read, and create images and documents.

Look at the following images. What authority, if any, is present in each image? Who authors the picture? How do history, original context, and cultural paradigms play into how the viewer “reads” the image? What questions do these images provoke?




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