The passing away of John Berger earlier this year has left a great void in the world of images and the way we see them in this world. For those who do not know about John Berger; he was an art critic and author of ''Ways of Seeing'', a book that changed the perspective for many about the way we see the visual culture and art history.
Influence on Photography
A great impact has been made on the subject of photography since 1972 when Ways of Seeing was published and made into a television series. Photography studies were considered an area of its own and was begun to be taken more seriously than ever before. This led to the following –
- There began a distinguishing culture between taking photographs and making photographs
- Images were now looked upon as objects
- Images were now seen as 'texts' and they were compared to other texts, hence giving the concept of 'intertextuality'
- The pictures began to be ''read''. Our viewing practices evolved which was different than what the author of those pictures may have intended while clicking them
- And lastly, the circulation and dissemination of photos began. An example of which can be seen on various social networking sites in India
The New Media and the 'Stillness'
The still image has suddenly acquired a new significance in this digital era. While at the time when John Berger was writing his thoughts about the ways that we see the image, the media was restricted to only a few mediums. However today, the new media which includes the online media has changed the way a picture is represented.
Today, there has been a convergence of visual forms and a convergence of the media. The photograph which a few decades ago appeared only in print or electronic media can now be seen in different media and on different screens and surfaces.
The value of many images today may look over-determined by the way one uses it in different social or political landscapes. This also puts into the effect the idea of copyright holding over a work of art including the photograph. In order to express one's own personal or political aspirations, people shift towards copyright free photos, which begs the question whether the movement of images should be completely free of any restraints or not.
The camera has made possible the large-scale production of art and photographs. And, that there is no more ''original'' or ''authentic meaning'' of it. This could be witnessed after almost four decades on various social networking sites in India with the way we make and share content on it.
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I am Richa Jha. I am writing this article on behalf of Sabakuch.com. They are one of the best social networking sites in india and also offer copyright free photos on their portal.