By John Berger
“There aren't any images that are denied. All pictures have the prestige of truth. what's to be tested is in what means images can and can't supply desiring to facts.” With those phrases, of our so much considerate and eloquent interrogators of the visible supply a unique meditation at the ambiguities of what's likely our user-friendly paintings form.
As developed through John Berger and the well known Swiss photographer Jean Mohr, that idea comprises pictures in addition to phrases; not just research, yet anecdote and memoir. Another means of Telling explores the strain among the photographer and the photographed, among the image and its audience, among the filmed second and the stories that it so resembles. Combining the ethical imaginative and prescient of the critic and the sensible engagement of the photographer, Berger and Moher have produced a piece that expands the frontiers of feedback first charged by means of Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag.
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Extra resources for Another Way of Telling: A New Theory of Photography
The construction is his reading of the event which is in front of his eyes. It is this reading, often intuitive and very fast, which decides his choice of the instant to be photographed. Likewise, the photographed image of the event, when shown as a photograph, is also part of a cultural construction. It belongs to a specific social situation, the life of the photographer, an argument, an experiment, a way of explaining the world, a book, a newspaper, an exhibition. Yet at the same time, the material relation between the image and what it represents (between the marks on the printing paper and the tree these marks represent) is an immediate and unconstructed one.
A photograph arrests the flow of time in which the event photographed once existed. All photographs are of the past, yet in them an instant of the past is arrested so that, unlike a lived past, it can never lead to the present. Every photograph presents us with two messages: a message concerning the event photographed and another concerning a shock of discontinuity. Between the moment recorded and the present moment of looking at the photograph, there is an abyss. We are so used to photography that we no longer consciously register the second of these twin messages – except in special circumstances: when for example, the person photographed was familiar to us and is now far away or dead.
If the event is a public event, this continuity is history; if it is personal, the continuity, which has been broken, is a life story. Even a pure landscape breaks a continuity: that of the light and the weather. Discontinuity always produces ambiguity. Yet often this ambiguity is not obvious, for as soon as photographs are used with words, they produce together an effect of certainty, even of dogmatic assertion. In the relation between a photograph and words, the photograph begs for an interpretation, and the words usually supply it.
Another Way of Telling: A New Theory of Photography by John Berger