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theguardian - 27 days ago

See/Saw: Looking at Photographs by Geoff Dyer review – how to really read a picture

In these seductively curious essays, Dyer scrutinises images and photographers, unearthing hidden truths and a sense of the uncannyGeoff Dyer first became interested in photography not by looking at photographs but by reading about other people looking at them. That meant the holy trinity of seers: Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes and John Berger. For Dyer, the most inspirational of these three was Berger, about whom he wrote his first book, Ways of Telling, 35 years ago, and from whom he learned his habits as a critic – always letting the evidence of his eyes have precedence over theory, and bringing what psychologists like to call “his whole self” to the task at hand. In Berger’s writing, that had invariably meant something soulful and learned, almost sculptural in intent. Dyer’s sensibility is more fleeting and alive to comic i his writing dramatises both a restless attention, and the moments it is stopped in its tracks. He shares with his mentor, however, that autodidact’s sense of bringing his singular frame of reference to bear on a singular framed image. “Naturally, I have no method,” he says, characteristically, by way of casual introduction to this collection of short essays. “I just look and think about what I’m looking at.”Dyer has achieved that rare elevation as an essayist that allows him to demand all his published thoughts be preserved between hard covers Continue reading...


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