PRAISE FOR HOW TO SEE THE WORLD
In our fluid world, we need reminding how strange our visual culture has become. Artist John Berger did that job for the 1970s with his classic book Ways of Seeing; now Nicholas Mirzoeff teaches us how to read' an astronaut's 2012 space-walk selfie and how to decode military photos smothered with labels that claim to show weapons we cannot in fact see... Tracing the political, social and environmental implications of our visual culture, in words and black and white images, is a job of work. Mirzoeff succeeds: this is a dizzying and delightful book.”
New Scientist, Best Reads from 2015
Deploying a blend of semiotics, sociology, and art history, Mirzoeff shows us how to interpret everything from old masters to selfies, from Rashomon to a map of the Mississippi.... He also persuasively makes the case that visual culture is changing rapidly, thanks to the advent of the internet. Mirzoeff draws on theorists such as Benjamin, Foucault, and Deleuze, but thankfully is much clearer and easier to read than any of those writers.
The Independent (UK)
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Professor and Chair, Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
This book is a gemclear, astute, and astonishingly insightful. Mirzoeff demonstrates virtuoso skills in making connections between images and visuality across global and social contexts, charting the histories of the self in art history to the selfie, showing us the meanings of sight itself, looking at how war is visualized and visually perpetrated, analyzing the visual domain of cities and climate, and making a powerful case for visual activism. Read this book and the field of visual culture will be yours.”
Marita Sturken, Co-author of Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture
Jack Halberstam, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California and author of The Queer Art of Failure and Gaga Feminism
Nicholas Mirzoeff's wonderful new book traces the ways that sightand seeingtransform the ways we understand and help change the world. Beautifully written, with a broad sweep of examples that speak to the power of images and encourage us to see and think in new ways, this is the go-to book for scholars and students in fields ranging from political science and anthropology to art history.”
Suzanne Blier, Allen Whitehill Clowes Chair of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
In a wide-ranging exploration of our new visual landscapes, Nick Mirzoeff shows us how to think about what we see, from selfies to self-documenting social movements.”
Clay Shirky, Associate Professor, NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and author of Here Comes Everybody
"A vivid demonstration of the power of visual studies to clarify and comprehend a wide variety of cultural and technical phenomena, from selfies to drone warfare. Magisterial in scope and perspicuous in style, this book is full of revelations for both specialists and general readers about the way we live now, and the new ways that we look at things. A worthy sequel to Mirzoeff's many notable contributions to visual studies, it is essential reading for anyone interested in media, technology, and the everyday practices of seeing.”
W. J. T. Mitchell, Professor of English and Art History, University of Chicago and author of What Do Pictures Want?