On my last trip from London to Berlin a woman sat in the seat across the aisle from me. She was young, tall, thin, had long hair and a symmetric face. In other words, she had all the qualities of a top model. I started daydreaming: What if I shoot with her, then my pictures would be published in these high fashion magazines.
It became clear to me very quickly that this would not happen. But it also got me wondering about the concept of beauty.
Beauty is hard to locate
From ancient times philosophers struggled to define beauty. It seems like there are some objective qualities that makes a piece beautiful. At the same to time beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
In the western tradition balance in order and symmetry is perceived as beautiful, whereas the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi asymmetry and naturalness is considered as beautiful.
Beauty seems to be cultural conditioned taste that also changes over time. Baroque’s ideal of beauty differs a lot from the ideal of today’s beaty and fashion industry.
So, we may argue that objective beauty doesn’t exist. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. What’s beautiful to one might not be to another. I’ve noticed that my perception of beauty differs from the high fashion standards that often dominate the industry. In today’s world that becomes more and more fractured a diverse mix of different beauty concepts coexists. Besides that, the creative expression of one’s individuality and self-became more important than conforming to societal norms Which I think is generally a good thing. But if beauty is solely subjective a pleasurable experience that differs from person to person – how can it be more than just an arbitrary value?
The power of beauty
“I want to paint incorrectly, so my untruth becomes more truthful than the literal truth.” – Vincent van Gogh.
It seems like there is an inherent truth in beauty. Something that goes beyond the appearance and connects to an underlying experience. When I create, I am on a quest chasing something that is larger than the sum of all parts, something of ultimate significance that gives my work a quality that transcends the moment and connects us to a spiritual dimension, a cause that makes us to become the best version of ourselves.
And sometimes I create just for the sake of creating, because of the way the act of creating makes me feel the inner and deep joy when I noticed that I have created something beautiful.