Tuesday, 13 April 2010
i decided to do a quick review of my relatively recently completed essay on iconic images.
Although i do go through immense stress completing the essays i do find them very interesting. The essay i have chosen to write about is the "burning monk." Its basically a picture of a Vietnamese monk throwing gasoline over himself and setting himself on fire, in a peaceful sacrificial protest against the Diem government, who have been said to be mistreating Buddhist monks. The image that was taken by Malcolm Browne circulated through the American media, which ultimately resulted in the withdrawal of America from Vietnam and eventually brought down the Diem Government.
When starting the essay i believed the first thing to address was, what is an iconic image? an iconic image is an image(or object) that has a universal meaning and understanding to a mass of people, although through my research i came to understand that this was not entirely true.
I found that John Berger's "Ways of seeing," provided valuable research to essay, Berger states that due to reproduction an image can take on an infinite amount of representations and meaning, for example, the "original" often has a historical bond within a building or represents a certain place or time, When we remove this image and place it somewhere else, we can not think of it as the same, even the quality of the reproduction changes the images intended representation. To explain further why this is true, you have to imagine the picture of the "Mona Lisa" stuck on a boys room wall, right next to it is a topless picture of a girl. The images meaning has completely changed and since iconic images rely upon universal representation it becomes impossible to say that everyone is interpreting the same exact iconic image.
I really enjoyed this essay, and can only hope to get more wisdomful XD