Sally Potter at The Guardian:
John Berger is 90. An excellent age. In his presence, however, age seems utterly irrelevant. This is not just because John seems to live in a perpetual present, forever scanning the world around him with as much intensity as he might ever scan the world within – and therefore seems to live without a trace of nostalgia – but also because he is full of excitement and curiosity about the future.
The story of my encounters with him begins before I was born. John taught art to my mother. She was a teenager and he was only a few years older. It was probably for no more than a few months, a temporary job in a school in north London. Yet somehow, throughout my childhood, his name floated in my consciousness, conjuring up the image of a dashing young soul, handsome, charming, militant and dedicated to the making of art. At 21, already an inspiring teacher.
The next moment that he came sharply into focus for me was with his book – and the television series that it emerged from – Ways of Seeing. His way of expressing ideas – pithy, plain language, bold – and, above all, the ideas themselves that he shaped with such clarity, had the startling effect of feeling both brand new and yet obvious, creating a feeling of recognition. Of course, of course, we all thought; that is how it is; it’s just that we hadn’t found the words for it before.