Every two minutes, Americans alone take more photographs than were printed in the entire nineteenth century; every minute, people from around the world upload over 300 hours of video to YouTube; and in 2014, we took over one trillion photographs. From the funny memes that we send to our friends to the disturbing photographs we see in the news, we are consuming and producing images in quantities and ways that could never have been anticipated. In the process, we are producing a new worldview powered by changing demographicsone where the majority of people are young, urban, and globally connected.
In How to See the World, visual culture expert Nicholas Mirzoeff offers a sweeping look at history's most famous imagesfrom Velázquez's Las Meninas to the iconic Blue Marble”to contextualize and make sense of today's visual world. Drawing on art history, sociology, semiotics, and everyday experience, he teaches us how to close read everything from astronaut selfies to Impressionist self-portraits, from Hitchcock films to videos taken by drones. Mirzoeff takes us on a journey through visual revolutions in the arts and sciences, from new mapping techniques in the seventeenth century to new painting styles in the eighteenth and the creation of film, photography, and x-rays in the nineteenth century. In today's networked world, mobile technology and social media enable us to exercise visual activism”the practice of producing and circulating images to drive political and social change. Whether we are looking at pictures showing the effects of climate change on natural and urban landscapes or an fMRI scan demonstrating neurological addiction, Mirzoeff helps us to find meaning in what we see.
A powerful and accessible introduction to this new visual culture, How to See the World reveals how images shape our lives, how we can harness their power for good, and why they matter to us all.
Basic Books; April 2016
- ISBN: 9780465096015
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: How to See the World
- Author: Nicholas Mirzoeff
Imprint: Basic Books
In The Press
A lucid and accessible introduction to how images shape our lives and effect change, political and social
[How to See the World] offers numerous insights into reading' the significance of images in the world today and is filled with intriguing, insightful nuggets. A challenging and provocative inquiry into how we see the world.”
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?
About The Author
Nicholas Mirzoeff is a professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University and is deputy director of the International Association for Visual Culture. His work has appeared in the Guardian, New Republic, and Time. He lives in New York City.