Saturday, February 9, 2013

The opposite of beauty?

In the woods (3)
"Saplings in winter," Tim Connor, All rights reserved

This winter I’ve been shooting tangles and thickets and bushes and weeds.  In this picture I shoot right up against a thicket of saplings. The color is minimal. White, brown, black, sometimes a curve of pale blue sky. The saplings visually slice and loop and crisscross each other as they recede into the distance. I’m looking for patterns in this skeletal jumble -- and I do find them -- but only in random juxtapositions, in patches within the frame. The saplings seem to resist perfection at every level. The thicket necessarily includes confusion, disproportion, awkwardness.

This is the opposite of beauty as I’ve been taught to perceive it. The saplings do not arrange themselves as the projection of my human idea of order, proportion, grace. So why am I taking the pictures? I try to tell myself that, left to themselves, the saplings have willy nilly grown into their own aesthetic -- their own beauty. I don't really feel this. But I want to learn to feel it more than I do.

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