Ways of Seeing

Seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world.

— John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Paraphrasing John Berger, in this photo essay we want to explore how familiar images acquire personal meaning. We want to render this meaning universally transmittable—turning it into information, which can be either put to use or ignored, but carries no special authority in itself.

Stripped of their technical context, the images in this collection become a language that stands alone; we urge the reader to approach this visual text and to, despite the initial frustration, engage with this language on a purely aesthetic level; by disengaging the objective mental workings some of us employ in our daily scientific practices, we want to provide the space necessary to encourage a more subjective appreciation.

Regardless of the ways we relate to and appreciate the surrounding world—be it through the lens of science, philosophy, aesthetics, or spirituality—the common endeavor of human existence is to create meaning. In this collective effort we want to put on equal footing the validity that our community gives to these various ways of seeing.

The photographs have been realised by members of the OIST Photographic Society—in order of appearance: Yuuki Guzman, Adi David, Neil Dalphin, Ankur Dhar, Rob Campbell.

— Adi David