Abstract Edit

In this final episode of John Berger's Ways of Seeing series, Berger analyzes publicity images such as advertisements in today's society and compares those to traditional oil paintings. He compares their original contexts, poses, settings, actions, and more. Berger examines the concepts of glamour, publicity and advertising today, and what these were back in the era of traditional paintings. Berger also goes on to analyze the incoherency of these publicity advertisements in magazines to further explore the inconsistency that differs our culture now to that of what existed during the time of the traditional oil paintings.

Key Concepts Edit

Glamour: John Berger relates the term "envied" to the term "glamour." He mentions that "this state of being envied is what constitutes glamour." Berger also tells us that publicity is what "manufactures" glamour. Therefore, without envy or publicity, glamour would not exist. Glamour is according to Berger something that goes deeper than looks but still heavily depends on them. Glamour is the lifestyle in which you live, the things you own, and the things you wear all in which show this type of "glamorous" or "envied" lifestyle. When comparing the concept of glamour to the time of traditional oil paintings, Berger claims that glamour did not exist during these times. Instead, what did exist was elegance, authority, and grace. However as John Berger states, back then your social position was determined at birth as opposed to what you wear and how you look. Because of this, envy did not exist; therefore, glamour did not exist because without envy, there is no glamour.

Publicity: When John Berger introduces the concept of publicity, he says that "publicity proposes to each of us in a consumer society that we change ourselves or our lives by buying something more." Publicity is the act of showing what we can have if we buy it. It shows us the new looks and lifestyles one can achieve through a purchase. In other words, publicity are the images one is surrounded by every day showing another more desirable way of life.

Advertising: Advertising is the act of persuading and informing others of this more desirable way of life. It is the people and the objects within the images that we see that are purposefully placed with the desired consequence that we will make a purchase to improve our lifestyle and become more desirable.

Examples Edit


John Berger would say that these two images, like other advertisements, are appealing to a way of life one aspires to or wants to achieve. They show that if we buy what we see we will have a different way of life, one that is shown in the picture. In these ads' cases, by purchasing Levi jeans, one will achieve a happy relationship and good looks, and if one were to purchase Dolce & Gabbana perfume (below), one would achieve a big, rich, beautiful family.


Keywords Edit




Citations Edit

Ways of seeing- part 4 [Motion picture]. (1993). BBC Enterprises Ltd.