Sunday, 17 July 2011

Reading About Photography Exercise: Analyse an essay, initial thoughts.

The essay which I have to analyse is Understanding a Photograph by John Berger which originally appeared in Selected Essays and Articles:The Look of Things, 1972 by John Berger.

John Berger is an influential critic and writer with Marxist views and so I wondered how much of that has coloured his attitude towards the art establishment and photography. The first instruction is to read the essay through twice, once straight off, no stopping, just to absorb the argument and then a second time making pertinent notes.

A three page essay, I must admit to not reading through all in one go....I read about one and a half pages....stopped...had a cup of tea....then returned to finish it. Not that John Berger writes in a higher academic fashion that is difficult to comprehend just that it is an essay full of opinions which I want to fully understand and take in before forming my own opinion, whether pro or anti his...quite difficult to do, read and try to remain impartial just taking in his argument.

Second time round I attacked it with my biro, scribbling things to the side, then with my highlighter pen, it looks quite impressive to the onlooker, but as yet I've got to form my thoughts and points around those jottings, the highlighting was the easy bit ;o)

The third time I used a different colour pen...I don't know how many times I read it althogther but it was lots.

This was all done a few weeks back in between shooting for assignment one. It was then put to one side and now I'm picking it up again to complete the exercise. As said before it isn't hard to read, no unnecessary jargon floating about, I don't feel the need to have my thesaurus or online dictionary to hand as with some, but it still needs careful consideration. Checking my understanding of what he states, do I agree with my previous jottings, thinking about how to form my responses to the questions being asked of me, have I managed to understand it enough to form my own opinion of his writings?

To help me form my own ideas I have done some research, mainly from online articles but also looking at some of the essays in the photography reader by Liz Wells. These essays are in part four: Photography and the postmodern.....I glazed over a bit but I do think there maybe some points in there I could use, so will try again later.

A really useful site I found which gives hints on essay writing here

Only one way to find out if I've read it enough I guess ;o) Onwards and upwards as they say......

Reading and delving into the mists of Essays ;o)

Lots of underlining, highlighting and notes, stuck in my learning log

Two of the many articles I downloaded and read relevant points underlined

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