At first I thought reading “Ways of Seeing” was a waste of time and that there really wasn’t anything to draw out from it, but while trying to think what I would write as a response, I found that I really did take out quite a bit from this reading. Among all the different things that can influence perception, there were three elements that stood out to me: text or writing, market value, and surroundings or backgrounds.
A point that is made about perception is that writing can influence the way you see an image. The example given in the essay is that of a painting that is revealed to have been the last painting that Van Gogh made, which suddenly made it seem deep and mysterious. Paintings are not the only example of how writing can influence your perception of an image. A modernized example of how text can influence an image is a meme. My favorites are the Spiderman memes. For example this image seems to be Spiderman saving the day yet again.
With some text the meaning is completely altered.
Market value is another aspect that seems to influence people’s perception of something. The essay gives an example that is similar to a story that I can relate to. Last summer I visited the Louvre and was able to see the Mona Lisa, which was amazing, but if it did not have the value and status I probably would have walked right past it not even giving it a second look. Instead, this painting is behind a crowd, which is behind a barrier, which is behind a glass case. Everyone basks in its glory; it’s perceived glory because of its market value. I myself fought crowds just to get a selfie and a closer look.
One obvious factor that can change the way different people perceives an object is the surroundings that they are in. If someone is in a negative mood or is focused on ugly wallpaper they might perceive something as bad or ugly while the same image may be perceived by a different person as good or nice because they have different surrounding.
The surroundings do not necessarily have to make something positive or negative, but it can change the way you see it like in this optical illusion where the colors are perceived differently.
In our everyday lives, the way we perceive things can completely change our attitude and our actions towards specific things.