Do you see the beauty? Even here?
It takes but a second. Perhaps just a millisecond. We see something so incredibly beautiful (or so incredibly haunting) that it is etched permanently in our minds. It doesn’t matter if our eyes had lingered for 30 minutes or caught but a mere glimpse. The moment is there — burned on our memories. They are the moments that we cannot “unsee.”
Go there for a moment. To one of the moments of beauty. Take a deep breath in…and exhale. Breathe. Then think of one of those beautiful moments etched in your mind. See it, paint it, imagine it as vividly as you remember. Notice the textures. The colors. The light. The shadow. Remember how it felt to see that beauty. How it felt to FEEL that beauty. If inclined, feel free to close your eyes and go there in your mind for a few breaths.
Ahhh…seeing beauty. Feeling beauty.
It changes us. In the presence of beauty, there is a shift within. We lose ourselves in that moment. We become fully present and aware of what our eyes are beholding, and as photographers, the beauty compels us to photograph it — to capture the moment — so that we can share it with others as if to implore them:
“Do you see this beauty that is in this world? Do you see it?”
I honestly believe that there is beauty to be seen, discovered, or uncovered — in everything and everyone. At times, that beauty may be evident from the first glance. At other times, the beauty is not so obvious. On the surface, perhaps something seems just plain ordinary. Maybe off-putting. Or even repulsive. Or maybe even so abundant that we just pass it by. The beauty gets ignored — or seems difficult or nearly impossible to see. We might simply glance over it — or avoid looking because we may not even believe that beauty could be hidden anywhere below the surface.
We see what we expect to see — but can’t our expectations change? What if we accepted the challenge to open up to the possibility that beauty is more widespread than we initially thought? What if we as photographers (and human beings) accepted the challenge to move through the world with the determination to seek beauty — not only where it is obvious — but even (or especially) in those places where it seemed impossible?
Seeing beauty changes us. Something within us shifts when we see — when we feel it. And what might happen if we started finding — and photographing it in these ordinary or difficult and unexpected places — so that in those moments as well, we could again implore:
“Do you see this beauty in the world? Do you see it — even here?”