Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

John Berger: Understanding a Photograph (Video)

A panel discussion surrounding art critic John Berger and his collected writings on photography.

 - January 9, 2014

In conjunction with the release of John Berger’s collected writings on photography, Understanding a Photograph (Aperture, 2013), Aperture hosted a panel discussion on November 13 on the subject of Berger’s work and influence. Edited and with an introduction by Geoff Dyer, Understanding a Photograph assembles previously uncollected pieces written for exhibitions or catalogs, discussing a wide range of artists—from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Jitka Hanzlová.

Geoff Dyer was joined in conversation by acclaimed photographer Christophe Agou; Wendy Lesser, critic, novelist, and founding editor of The Threepenny Review; and Lawrence Weschler, artistic director emeritus of the Chicago Humanities Festival and curator of the annual Live Ideas Festival at Bill T. Jones’s New York Live Arts.

Following brief introductions, the group discussed Berger’s influence on their own work and the landscape of photography writing at large. Berger’s explorations of the relationships between the individual and society, culture and politics, and experience and expression through the written word and photographic collaborations are unmatched in their diversity, ambition, and reach. Reflecting on personal experiences, the speakers offered their views on Berger’s ideas and his character as both a colleague and a friend. Inviting the audience to join the discussion, the evening concluded with a brief Q&A session.

View “John Berger: Understanding a Photograph,” Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 on Vimeo.

Understanding a Photograph is now available as part of the Aperture Ideas series.