Photography is defined by the American Dictionary as the art or practice of taking and processing photographs. A photograph is the extension of the human eye that we could never imagine until the technological revolution. Before Photography, we could not understand or interpret the world the camera allowed us to isolate parts of our environment and then combine them to make the confusion around us more comprehensible. In Ways of Seeing, Berger best explains this when he says, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it....I'm in constant movement...Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you (Berger 17). The extension of the camera is interpreted differently as times changed and technology evolved. These interpretations became ways of seeing for groups of people in a particular era, as described by Berger. He says in this book, an image is a sight which has been recreated or reproduced (Berger 9).
What we as the audience think of reality is actually light falling on an object that the artists is aware of, thus, controlling what we see and don't see. The way the photograph is taken of the object also provides insight on the way in which the photographer looked at the subject. For example, the Mona Lisa was painted in a way that the artist had viewed her and wanted the audience to view her. A photograph becomes a representation of what the artist is seeing and not what is really there. Popular culture has been so fascinated with photography because of its ability to hold onto a space in time. We are filled with pictures in our homes of people who have died so long ago, but the photographs represent how they once were and no longer are. As photography became popular in mainstream culture, paintings began being reproduced in the form of photographs
[...] Photography as explained by Berger is an interpretation of the world like paintings and drawings are, but its ability to provide proof is what makes it stand out the most as an art form. Its popular usage has become a part of family life, where families have generations in family albums, usually stored away but then explored when we seek to remember our past. The action of taking the photograph itself becomes the reality, which alters the way they are seen. “Photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power” (Sontag 8). [...]
[...] The Marlboro Company is the signifiers, trying to signify the cowboy in the ad as the ultimate male fantasy and what all men ultimately aspire to be. In conclusion, photography has shaped our interactions, justified social ideologies, and become a commodity of capitalism. Bibliography 1. Berger, John (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books. ISBN 0563122447 (BBC), ISBN 0-14-021631-6, ISBN 0-14-013515-4 (pbk). 2. JOINSON, C. (2010), ON PHOTOGRAPHY BY SUSAN SONTAG. The Art Book, 17: 70. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8357.2010.01082_2.x 3. Roland Barthes. "Rhetoric of the Image." Image, Music, Text. Ed. and trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. [...]
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