One of the most inspiring thinkers you can meet in this industry is John Berger.
One of the most inspiring books you can read is his Ways Of Seeing. First published by BBC in 1972. I have a Penguin version of the book from 2008.
For those street photographers, who still master the art of reading, it is definitely worth picking up a copy of Berger’s small book.
For those street photographers, who enjoy images more than texts about images, the good news is that Ways Of Seeing contains chapters where not a single word is spoken. They are strictly made up of pictures.
There are different ways, Berger suggests, in the modes men and women have been, and still are portrayed. In paintings and in photographs.
With men it is about the power. A man’s presence is dependent upon the promise of power which be embodies, Berger states. It has to do with what he can do to you or for you.
Women, on the contrary, constantly have to include a reflection of themselves. How does she look to others? Her appearance is not a question of what she can do to and for you. It is a question of what can be done to her by others. This is expressed in gestures, clothes, taste, surrounding, expressions and more.
By this mode of reflection she has turned herself into an object. First and foremost a visual object – something to be seen. A sight.
Men act, women appear. Think about it in these times of gender confusion.
These are some of the words spoken by John Berger.
© Knut Skjærven