How to see the world by Nicholas Mirzoeff- intoduction

In ‘How to See the World’ by Nicholas Mirzoeff, it is a novel analysing the visual culture of our world today. Whilst reading the “Introduction” a key point that sparked my curiosity was how the world has changed so drastically compared to the lifestyle of earlier generations. According to Mirzoeff, the world we live in is changing quicker than it ever has before and this is because of the global network society. Digital technologies such as the internet and social media is now the way people connect with others but it also has become a social requirement to explore our world through sharing information and media like photographs and videos. Mirzoeff states that “every two minutes, Americans alone take more photographs now than what were made in the entire nineteenth century” he also states that “one hundred hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute’. The power of the internet today is bigger than we ever could have imagined, we rely so much on others to experience the world for us and we can see all their adventures from the click of a button. Some people now would rather explore the world through their screens rather than going out and seeing it through their own eyes.

Another key point within the introduction from Mirzoeff’s ‘How to See the World’  is the photograph of Earth known as ‘Blue Marble’ becoming the most reproduced photograph ever. How one image can be so powerful, so eye opening that it can cause individuals to change their views, stop their own personal conflict and work towards a better world. This image was put on nearly every front cover of newspapers around the world. People had never seen earth from this perspective and that’s why it was so significant. “In December 2012 an astronaut named Aki Hoside took his own picture from space”. However instead of focusing the attention on earth he created the ultimate ‘selfie’ by turning the camera on himself. Compared to ‘Blue Marble’ where it shows us the planet, Hoside had turned the camera on him copying the common day ‘selfie’ that has become such a popular everyday activity within many human’s lives. Mirzoeff states “It makes space real and imaginable to us in a more direct way than Blue Marble” by simply doing an activity within space that is so commonly recongised within humans lives and earth reflecting off his visor.

Works Cited: Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “How to See Yourself”. How to See the World, Pelican, 2015, pp. 1-27



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