In the above title, the word “shots” refers both to photographs and to the little jolts of joy that occur when we experience beauty and respond with an “Oo,” “Ahh,” or “Wow!” This happens frequently for me because Linda, being an avid gardener, often brings flowers into the house. When I see something this beautiful, I have to get my camera out. This arrangement and its placement in the kitchen window with dramatic backlight evoked such a dramatic “Wow!” in me, it stayed with me for several days, prompting me to reflect on it here. I particularly wanted to understand the factors that contributed to my reaction.
First and foremost is the subject matter, the presence of flowers—in the house rather than the garden. I’d seen these flowers growing, but they didn’t prompt me to photograph them. Growing up, we didn’t have flowers in the house. But since Linda started bringing them in—early in our marriage—it has been wonderful to enter a room or turn a corner and get a little shot of their beauty. And it’s amazing to see how the same flower or arrangement will change as the light and blossoms change.
I notice that what is chosen and how it’s displayed contribute greatly to the experience of beauty, particularly when putting together everyday objects. I’m not an interior designer, but I’ve come to understand the features that, when combined, are beautiful. For one, no matter the object, it has to do with being set apart. Special. I’ll pass by and barely notice five forks laying on the counter, but if I see one of those forks placed with the tines down on a white saucer under a living-room lamp, it catches my attention. For me, considering the same subject, if there would be a tiny pink blossom floating on water beneath the fork, it would likely deliver a shot of beauty.
More complex objects, perceived as visual “elements,” can shift the commonplace from low to high gear in terms of beauty simply by arranging them. For instance, if I were to bring home a modest bundle of flowers from the grocery store my tendency would be to put them in a vase and that would be that. Beautiful? Somewhat. Linda, on the other hand, will purchases two or three small bundles so she can combine and arrange the colors and textures, and then assemble them into several vases, thereby magnifying the beauty and spreading it out. Rather than accept the store’s arrangement, which is usually predicated on bundling types of flowers together for easy recognition, she engages her aesthetic preferences and arranges them accordingly. And often, a single flower—again, an individual set apart from the group—will show up on my desk, usually in a vase that matches the color of the blossom. Always, it prompts a “Wow!”
To isolate an object is to set it apart as unique and special. And by arranging several visual elements, be they flowers, pictures or collectibles, a relationship is created and the beauty of the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Bottom line: everyday objects that we select and purposefully place around the home or office can generate sparks of pleasure each time we see them. And these shots of beauty carry us through the day.
A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search for truth and perfection, is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.
No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at the sight of them. This is beauty.
Robert Henri (Author, The Art Spirit)
ABOUT THIS IMAGE
Title: Flowers on the Windowsill
This is just one of Linda’s many creations.
I invite you to visit my portfolio site: David L Smith Photography