Way of Seeing

“The camera isolated momentary appearances and in so doing destroyed the idea that images were timeless. Or, to put it another way, the camera showed that the notion of time passing was inseparable from the experience of the visual (except in paintings).
What you saw depended upon where you were when. What you saw was relative to your posit on in time and space. It was no longer possible to imagine everything converging on the human eye as on the vanishing point of infinity.” — p18

When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image. As a result its meaning changes. Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies and fragments into many meanings. — p19

“In the age of pictorial reproduction the meaning of paintings is no longer attached to them; their meaning becomes transmittable: that is to say it becomes information of a sort, and, like all information, it is either put to use or ignored; information carries no special authority within itself.
When a painting is put to use, its meaning is either modified or totally changed.” — p24

“Cezanne made a similar observation from the painter’s point of view. ’
A minute in the world’s life passes ! To paint it in its reality, and forget everything for that! To become that minute, to be the sensitive plate.., give the image of what we see, forgetting everything that has appeared before our time…” — p31

Berger, John, and Michael Dibb. 1972. Ways of seeing. [London]: BBC Enterprises.


“Camera, by making the work of art transmittable, has multiplied its possible meanings and destroyed its unique original meaning.”

“Uninterrupted silence and stillness of a painting can be very striking, absolutely still, soundless, becomes a corridor, connecting the moment it represents with the moment of which you are looking at it.” — bbc ep1

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