The Language of Publicity

1492 Words6 Pages
Seen differently throughout each individual, art serves a purpose of expression. Expressed in different forms, the nature of art is everywhere, including publicity. Publicity provides culture with images that convey meaning and messages. Images are the strongest, most powerful aspect publicity holds. In Ways of Seeing, John Berger identifies the relationship between two media images, modern day publicity and the language of traditional oil painting. These images intend to demonstrate reality to the spectator but not a reality of the common life, a socially constructed reality called glamour. As Americans, our lives revolve around publicity images. Everywhere we look are competitive consumer advertisements, publicity, it…show more content…
He refers to publicity as “the process of manufacturing glamour” (Berger 131). According to Tom Bentkowski, “Glamour is a manufactured product, a valuable commodity. It exists not in the person but in her photography image. It is not the same as beauty or elegance or grace--those qualities reside in the essence of a person and exist whether they are observed or not” (Bentkowski 1). This is why publicity images are so effective, they feed off pleasure and desire of the glamorous, the constructed reality. Bentkowski relates glamour to images in such a way where you can only observe them, such as a photograph. Susan Sontag describes the relationship of observing images and spectators in her book On Photography. She exclaims, “To photograph people is to violate them…It turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed” (Sontag 84). A photograph, along with most images, can turn an object or person into a symbol and this symbol becomes the desire to the spectator. Photography has a very strong relation to the art of painting. In fact, history proves, painting established the art of photography. Both are forms of images that turn into symbols of envy, in which are not tangible rather observed. “Publicity relies to a very large extent on the language of oil painting”, exclaims Berger (135). Both media approach the viewer with the same messages and similar intentions. Oil paintings were created to
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