Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week 2: Seeing and Perception

.Seeing and perception has always have a mutual relationship with one another. They are inseparable because without one of these, I am sure human beings won’t be able to recognize and to see what God had given them in this blessed Earth i.e water, rock, sun and etc. Also, without perception, there won’t be any meaning to every object that is present in front of us. But also bear in mind that both are not of the same thing. Thus, it is important that we should take the subject of Seeing and Perception critically because both can be confusing.
Seeing is actually only an act of viewing or watching. Our eyes receive light from the electrical rays that is being transmitted by the object (reflected by light) that turns into an image. As stated by Harry Jamieson (2007), in his book called More Than Meets The Eye, “..light energy reaching the eye is converted into electrical discharges which are transmitted as impulses along the nervous pathways to the brain.” (Pg.15). Hence, an image is only an image.

What I meant by an ‘Image is only an image’ is that, when an object is shown in front us, our eyes catches the image of the object directly but it only stands as another image we see. There are no interpretations involve in Seeing. Thus, we are only watching the image of the object. It is Perception that plays a big part in this context. As stated by J. Berger, S. Bloomberg, C. Fox, M. Dibb and R. Hollis (1972) in their book called Ways of Seeing, “Seeing comes before words.”(Pg.7).
Perception is what creates the meaning of a certain object that is shown to us. This is very natural because we are human beings and we use our senses to define our surrounding. To make us understand what is around us and to feed our greed in terms of curiosity. With our perception then we can give meaning to the things we see with our own eyes. Hence why it is important for us to take note that Seeing and Perception is different from each other.

Furthermore, Perception is not always still. This is because it depends on how we perceive certain things individually. Considering the fact that a human being can be unpredictable at times. So what one perceives is not always what others will. This is developed through representation of images that we have or had encountered in our live, plus experiences, makes us relates one thing with another. Take Example the picture below:-

    What we can see is that it is a can of drink with the word “Coke” written on it and lets focus on the word “Coke”. After years and years of representation of the word ‘Coke’, we may interpret coke as only a can of a fizzy drink or maybe the largest manufacturer of fizzy drinks industry. Or maybe as a multi-billion dollar company that has in many years used media to advertise their product and has been successful in regards to the particular. Which I think proves my point about people have different perception.

There is a question imposed by our beloved Chris in our guide book about, how do we judge someone’s perception is more “true” or “false” than the other? It really gives me a big hit on the head and a little migraine just thinking about it. But, after a long time of consideration, I only came up with this. That is, nothing can be identified as true or false without us knowing it at first. In other words, we justify the truth by accumulating every thing that we have encountered in our entire life to what has been culturally or socially brought up to us and also has been agreed by people on that particular.

Thus, perception also needs conventions of agreements of a particular subject that as been agreed upon by others. In so doing that we can save ourselves from prostituting what we see with what we want people to know. Unless someone saw an alien from other space comes to earth and started playing football or eating ambuyat like us with McDonalds then what we have agreed upon the alien matter should be revised and be given a different meaning and truths.  Hehe. :p
Culture and society also plays part in our perception of the world around us. As stated by Marion G. Muller (2008) in his journal called Visual Competence, said that:-

Visual production, perception, interpretation and
reception competencies are connected in a cycle. The
cycle itself unfolds its dynamic not in a vacuum, but in a
social, political and cultural context that is shaped by
three factors: individual or dispositional factors,
shaping, for example, the production competencies of a
particular artist, photographer, television director;
situational factors that determine the production,
perception, interpretation and reception competencies;
and systemic factors that predispose certain production,
perception, interpretation and reception contexts.” (pg. 4)

From the quotation above, it really shows how perception can or can be affected by the cultural and social values.

In conclusion, what we see is merely of an object that is of reflection of what is in front of us but to interpret it, we use our senses and then perceive the object that is in our mind (mental image) and give it meaning. Without both of these present, we might not be able to perceive things clearly even if we have all our senses still working for us. The eyes are actually the stimuli of perceiving. And we perceive what we see every time through out live.


Berger, J., Bloomberg, S., Fox, C., Dibb, M., and Hollis, R. (1972). Ways of Seeing (pp. 7-33). London and New York: Penguin Books.

Jamieson, H. (2007). The perceptual connection. Visual communication: More than meets the eye (pp.13-27). Bristol: Intellect Books.

Muller, M. G. (2008). Visual Competence: a new paradigm for studying visuals in the social sciences? Visual Studies, Vol. 23. (pp. 4): Routledge.

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