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[Perspectives] The time of our lives

A Fortunate Man by John Berger and photographer Jean Mohr, first published in 1967 and reprinted this year, is a stunning visual ethnography of the life of the English general practitioner (GP) John Sassall in rural Gloucestershire. Sassall comes across as a skilled and empathetic doctor, as well as a philosopher, psychotherapist, and oral historian, forever searching for deeper existential clues and symbols in his patients’ conditions. Time was a preoccupation of Sassall’s, Berger tells us. Not so much the clock time of the working day, long and demanding as it can be, rather the kind of time that seems to separate one person from another: “the time of anguish”.

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