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Ways of Seeing by John Berger

What an odd little book! Based on a 1970s BBC television series, Ways of Seeing is a collection of seven separate essays (some with words, some only imagery) that take the reader through several different themes related to art history and ways of "seeing" art. The tone is highbrow and distant, which I find off-putting, especially in the essay on nudes. However, I do find some of the insights on reproductions of original works to be valuable and worth reading, as well as the differences noted between nakedness and nudity (to be oneself vs. objectification).

The final essay on publicity images (aka advertising) and its relationship to art and capitalism is the most useful, in my opinion. So much of the imagery we see in the world today is publicity. It is important to understand that the goal of publicity is to convince its spectators that transformation into the daydream version of oneself can be achieved by the purchasing of right products. Publicity subverts democracy with consumerism, and without it capitalism would collapse.