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Intro to John Berger


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A quick intro to John Berger's "Appearances," talking through a couple of his arguments, together with some notes of encouragement on reading complex essays.

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Intro to John Berger

  1. 1. An Intro to John BergerSunday, September 18, 11
  2. 2. “A game of meaning”: • The Last Mountie (His smile becomes nostalgic) • The Man who Set Fire to Farms (His smile becomes sinister) • Before the Trek of Two Thousand Miles (His smile becomes apprehensive) • After the Trek of Two Thousand Miles (His smile becomes modest)...Sunday, September 18, 11
  3. 3. “The photograph offers irrefutable evidence that this man, this horse and this bridle existed. Yet it tells us nothing of the significance of their existence” (Berger).Sunday, September 18, 11
  4. 4. André Kertész, “A Red Hussar Leaving, 1919, Budapest”Sunday, September 18, 11
  5. 5. • How can we “read” a “language without a code? • As information, photographs are “incontrovertible” as facts but are almost entirely subjective as meaning. • We try to ignore this, because we don’t like facts without meaning. • In our current culture, we’ve come to believe that subjective meaning is biased, untrustworthy, and unimportant. • Berger argues for subjectivity, saying that the personal and the “A Popular Use of subjective is real, meaningful, Photography” and important in ways we’ve been too quick to forget.Sunday, September 18, 11
  6. 6. Reading Berger is hard. Go slow. Write lots of notes. Translate his ideas into your own words. Stop at the section breaks and connect his ideas. If you don’t get it--don’t worry. Keep going.Sunday, September 18, 11