Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ways of Seeing

One of the first points that John Berger makes is the differentiation between sight and touch. He writes, "We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves" (Berger 7). This differs from touch, in which we can only be in physical contact with a few things at once, but most times it will only be one or two things. This was the first realization that I came to when reading this article. Our eyes are working at a million miles a minute, always consuming everything around us,–– it is almost as if our eyes can detach from our body more so than anything else. When it comes to touch, we must physically bring our entire body to whatever we want to touch, which limits that ability immensely.
Hals's painting of the Regent with the slouched hat and eyes that are not focused suggests that he is drunk, when in reality it is very rare that that was the case at the time. "He argues that it was a fashion   at that time to wear hats on the side of the head . . . He insists that the painting would have been unacceptable to the Regents if one of them had been portrayed drunk" (Berger 15). This makes an important point about perspective and background information. Do we take Hals's word that the Regent was not drunk, or do we use what we see and draw our own conclusions? Because after all, vision is what we perceive.