Among my pile of books yet to read as part of my studies I had ‘About Looking’ by John Berger. I have only recently been introduced to this author through my Context and Narrative Course, I read his book ‘Ways of Seeing’ and watched the accompanying BBC TV program on You-Tube which I found very interesting. I then went onto read ‘Understanding a Photograph’, in preparation for my fourth assignment. The recent sad news of John Berger’s death prompted me to read this book, ‘About Looking’.
This book is made up of a selection of essays, Berger wrote from the mid 1960’s up to the late 1970’s.
His first essay examines how man looks and sees himself; how he regards animals and his world around him and compares this to how other animals regards themselves, man and the world through their eyes.
His next essay looks at pictures by August Sander the famous farm hands going to a dance photo and another image of a local musical band posing for their photograph and he discusses how their suits give away their status in society despite their smart attire.
Also included is an essay on the works of Paul Strand. The rest of the book moves away from photography and looks at works by other artists from the 17th century such as Hals through to Artist’s such as Francis Bacon and Giacometti of the 20th.
An interesting read, Berger had his own style of writing and if you have heard him speak you can almost hear his voice coming through the pages of the book.
He was clearly very passionate about art and I am sure a nice guy to have met. I am sure all who were fortunate enough to have met him will miss him.
I have just finished reading this book that I began in November!
Tagg looks at how photography has been influenced and how it has influenced history in Europe and North America by examining historical records in the UK and Europe and USA. Taking examples of photographs taken in the 19th century for recording likeness’ of prisoners, photos of slums such as in Leeds that were used to push to challenge the Local Authorities and fight for improved living conditions for the poor. Images taken in the early part of the 20th century to document the results of economic rescission in the rural community of the USA. Tagg analyses both images and back the ground events to produce a strong argument for his book and often makes reference to a French philosopher, Michel Foucault, that who I should perhaps find more about and how his ideas may help in my creativity.
An interesting book, a little heavy and have your dictionary to hand but worth studying as his method of research is good and his idea that arguments that are not fully tested with good background research are weak and likely to be biased. I think Tagg alludes to this when referring to John Berger and Susan Sontag.
Please find enclosed with this letter my clam-shell photo-box containing five folders holding: printed photographs, essay, introductions, Tutor reports and other associated documents for my five assignments. Each folder is marked with my name, number, course and assignment and each photograph has been similarly labelled.
Please refer to my Word Press blog to review all my work. All my notes and exercise work has been entered in to my blog (please refer to the link as above).
I hope that I have provided you with enough information and that you will find my work to be of a sufficient standard to be able to carry forward to the next step for my ambition to earn a degree.
For this assessment I chose to print the first page of my essay containing the image on photo quality paper through my Canon printer for better image reproduction as the image was taken from the internet and was only 72pdi in quality.
For this assessment, taking on board my Tutor’s comments I took two new photos one for image to simply change the composition from portrait to landscape for consistency and I changed the last image for a strong picture. I also reprinted all the images using my Tutor’s suggestion of adding a little lilac to the Hue as I was unhappy with the colour cast I appeared to be getting as I couldn’t get a perfect black or grey. This intended Hue is very subtle and I like the result.