About Looking

Things are certainly starting to speed up around here. Jill, Monroe and I will be moving into our new home this next Saturday. This is great, but it also meant that I've been away from my books and art supplies for the last month which is really getting me down. BUT, the library is a great place to find other great things to read. Like, About Looking, essays by John Berger. I've read this before, but a re-read is always nice. Here are a couple of favorite essays from this little gem.

Photographs of Agony

This essay helps to facilitate one of the primary functions of the photograph. The function of photography has since become more complicated but I enjoy how this essay gives a basic premise.
"As we emerge from the photographed moment back into our lives, we do not realise this; we assume that the discontinuity is our responsibility. The truth is that any responce to that photographed moment is bound to be felt as inadequate. those who are there in the situation being photographed, those who hold the hand of the dying or staunch a wound, are not seeing the moment as we have and their responses are of an altogether different order."
A lot of the content that becomes photography has much to do with the dichotomy between what is being perceived from a gazing viewer and the reality of the experience of those in the photograph who are living that moment.

Francis Bacon and Walt Disney

This essay about Bacon discusses his relevancy as a British painter, his remarkable consistency, his extraordinary skill and how his work is in complete oppositions to many of the ideals within the work of Walt Disney.
"Bacon's art is, in effect, conformist. It is not with Goya or the early Einstein that he should be compared, but with Walt Disney. Both men make propositions about the alienated behavior of our societies; and both, in a different way, persuade the viewer to accept what is. Disney makes alienated behavior look funny and sentimental and, therefore, acceptable. Bacon interprets such behavior in terms of the worst possible having already happened, and so proposes that both refusal and hope are pointless."
Disney makes life's moments sentimental, and Bacon makes them pointless. I love that opposition.

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