They’re related, though, words and images. Good novelists catalyze images which are, in turn, subjectively modified in readers’ minds. While reading a good story, there’s a movie playing on the back of my forehead that I view with my mind’s eye, so to speak. Conversely, “A picture,” goes the proverb, “is worth a thousand words,” but those words need not be spoken or written, necessarily. The picture might just speak for itself, as words are sometimes insufficient.Every day I expect to see beauty, so I take my camera wherever I go. If it’s not hanging off my shoulder, it’s not far away in my vehicle. Should my pictures capture some imperfect, but reasonable facsimile of a beautiful witness, some appreciation may then be kindled in others viewing it.Encounters with beauty quicken feeling. If nothing troubles me, the serenity helps me to see the beauty I might otherwise have missed if I were melancholic. When I expect beauty, it usually appears and when it does, it magnifies serenity, which helps me see still more beauty. “Beauty” defined is:
the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).As most of my pictures are attempts to capture beauty, there’s feeling associated with each. They begin with feeling, at least, but they don’t always render it. When my photographs fail to catch and arrest even a small portion of the beauty I perceive, I feel a loss. But when they do, it’s wonderful.My favorite poet, Robert Frost, wrote: “A poem begins as a lump in the throat . . .” and I get that. Frost went on: “ . . . a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” My pictures might contain some lovesickness - an immersion into feeling - but with more emphasis on love and less on sickness. I write about woe, but avoid photographing it. Frost went still further, saying: “. . . It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words.”Beauty, when I encounter it, is transitory. Either it diminishes as light wanes, or I must leave its proximity and see it no more. I can preserve it - though always in attenuated form - with my camera. I carry some of it away. Strawberry preserves don’t taste as good as strawberries, but are good nonetheless. Serenity enables notice of beauty, and the camera enables me to preserve some. It’s all “an effort to find fulfillment,” as Frost described poetic inspiration.
The picture is a medium captured with a camera created by man, but operated by a photographer created by God. Properly executed, the picture captures created beauty, which is then triggered in viewers who are also created. Without the divine, there would be neither beauty nor perception of it. With it, our perception and attempts to capture it bring the fulfillment both Frost and the photographer seek. If we plug into the process, what we capture will resonate in the reader or the viewer, as we are are all components in the network of our Creator.Van Gogh
The more I work with pictures, the more I appreciate good painting. Some painters capture beauty exquisitely. They’re plugged into the network, consciously or not, and their work reflects it. Others don’t - not to my eye at least. I see it in Van Gogh’s work, but not in Picasso’s for example. Much of his work is alien to me and I wondered why, so I researched him. A few of his quotes were enough to understand:
God is really another artist. . . . He has no real style.
I am a communist and my painting is a communist painting.Picasso
But this confession of his sealed it:
The 'refined', the 'rich', the 'professional do nothing', the 'distiller of quintessence' desire only the peculiar, and sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art. And I myself, since the advent of cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head. The less they understood, the more they have admired me! ...Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand meaning of the word. ...I am only a public clown, a mountebank. I have understood my time and exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries.No wonder I was repulsed. His were hardly efforts to find fulfillment. I’ll continue trusting my instincts with poets and painters and other image-makers.