Sunday, April 03, 2005

John Berger in Conversation

I have been reading a lot of John Berger's theories on visual culture for my current work - particularly his views on photography. I am intrigued by his notion that the true content of a photograph is invisible, because it derives not from play with form but from play with time. Whatever object or event is depicted in the photo carries the same weight as any other, and what actually gives the photo its intensity and meaning is how much we are aware of the poles of absence and presence in the photo. Perhaps this is why photographs are so often mementos of our loved ones who are absent.

Anyway, I was thrilled to discover that there is a celebration of Berger's work about to begin in London. I managed to get one of the last tickets to see John Berger in conversation with two of my favourite Canadian writers, Anne Michaels and Michael Ondaatje - it appears that they will be discussing the nature of writing itself - it should be fantastic!

The Observer also has a new interview with John Berger - I think only he could get away with describing a cigarette as a "proscenium arch for a dialogue".

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