Tag Archives: You-Tube

About Looking by John Berger

about-looking

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.

Project 2 – Image and text

I have cut out three pictures from a daily news paper and added my own captions to the photos to alter their contextual meaning.

There are two types of messages that can be linked to a photograph, one is called an anchor and the other is called a relay.

Anchor is a message that controls the meaning of the picture.

Relay is a message that can complement an image.  If you select songs to listen to on You-Tube they are sometimes accompanied by photographs that link certain passages of the song to the image and the relay method appears to work well here.

Examples below.

Anchors – The Clooney’s meet Angela Merkel

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  • The Clooney’s negotiate for celebrity asylum in Germany.
  • George Clooney offers Angela Merkel a part in his next movie.
  • Angela Merkel asks the stars of Hollywood if they have a spare room for an asylum seeker or two…
  • Angela Merkel is coached by George Clooney before her speech to the European Parliament.
  • George Clooney complaints to the management that it just isn’t Nescafé!
  • Friends of the Clooney’s are airing concerns for George and Amal’s marriage, stating that Amal often privately complains that she feels ignored and marginalised in public by George.
  • With the support of his wife George Clooney publicly denies sending a lewd and explicit Valentines card to Angela Merkel.

I have thought of seven new messages that anchor this in a new context and I am sure many more could be invented.

Relay – The Clooney’s meet Angela Merkel

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  • Hey you with the sad face, why don’t you come back to our place and live it up.
  • “I’m sorry, I thought I saw a bureaucrat!”
  • “Ein Nescafé bitte”
  • A carrier in marriage counselling, it’s more than just a job.
  • “The Lynx affect – LYNX deodorant.
  • “Dr. Amal and I have been examining your test results and……..”
  • “He looks much older than he does in the movies.”

Again I was able to come up with seven relay messages for this photo.

George Osborn poses in front of No 11 before he takes his Budget speech to Parliament.

Anchors:

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  • George Osborne in a public show of expense cutting reveals he takes to work a packed lunches.
  • George Osborn warns the British economy is still in the red.
  • George Osborn returns from the European conference with a written guarantee from the German Chancellor.
  • George Osborn, is seen sporting the new Armani man-bag.
  • Prime-minister demotes George Osborn to head of No 10’s post room.
  • Osborn returns the queens favourite handbag, “I was able to rescue it before security blew it up.” He later reported.

I was able to produce six alternative anchors for this photo.

Relay:

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  • “I’m putting your taxes up for a start!”
  • “Allah is Great!”
  • “Swop?”
  • Is he holding the future to your pension?
  • The economy
  • Good budgeting tips.

I was able to produce six relays for this picture.

English Rugby team

Anchors:

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  • British Rugby team learn of the death of a rising star player.
  • The ball just misses the posts and England looses the match.
  • English Rugby players are asked to sing the national anthem from memory.
  • Mako Vunipola is ordered off the pitch for an illegal tackle.
  • The moment the terrorist blew himself up.
  • Hackers share shocking selfies of Mako Vunipola on stadium’s big screens.

I managed to produce six anchors for this image.

Relay:

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  • Tense nervous headache?
  • “I can’t look!”
  • Have you bought your lottery ticket?
  • “Hold my hand lest I fall…” (Jim Reeves, Take My Hand Precious Lord)

On this occasion I could only think of four relays for this picture.

I can see from these new anchor messages that an image can be turned from serious to comical or used for advertising / Political or socially concerning messages.  Similarly a relay message can do similar things including linking to literature such as poetry or lyrics to a song.