Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ruination (iv)

La Brea Tar Pit, Canon EOS 60d, Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro
  “Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

[Le Petit Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint Exupéry]

I think there is a consensus among people on how aesthetics are applied. The concept of beauty is after all universal. Socrates taught the standard for beauty exists in the realm of ideas, which all of us mortals have access to. Hence, for the most part we could all agree what beauty is. I am quite sure that this image on the other hand evokes something else apart from beauty. Most people will find this image not only strange but repulsive. Was that too strong a language? Why would someone want to stare at dead leaves on top on a tar pit? I don’t know. I do find inner beauty in dead leaves on odious tar pit. I must be strange.

"What makes the desert beautiful," says the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well."

Featured Comments (Updated August 30, 2011):

This in particular, does not strike me as ugly. Call me an optimist, but I sensed something different. For instance, what if the leaves were laying on pure white snow? Would it then be prettier? Do we automatically associate substance with beauty? If the leaves were orchids, would we imagine they were laying on the black sands of Hawaii? I know I’m thinking a lot here, but it’s true, beauty is all perception.

Why can’t we see beauty in the life of the leaves and the experience the leaves had from sprouting, to their green rich tone to the autumn color they acquired until their demise….instead we see dead leaves. No longer beautiful? Seems strange when you put it that way, huh? Seems to me we have a choice, but we either don’t realize it or we choose to think like all the rest.

Thanks for this message. I will try to keep it in mind. Next time I see an elderly person, I’ll try to see the beauty in their life and character as opposed to what features they no longer possess.  - R

Interesting.  I find anything connected to nature beautiful, hence I do find beauty in your photograph.  I would not think it repulsive at all.  Tar also can come naturally from nature so it too is beautiful, very sensual liquid form…….  We are all too programmed for what is considered “beautiful”.   And everything of course is relative.  Too a skin cancer patient’s mother a small pill which might heal her scarred son/daughter could be the most beautiful thing in the world.  A tear, which is usually related to pain and sorrow, might be “beautiful” to a woman who sees it in the man who is so overwhelmed with love for her that is spills out uncontrollably.  And I love your quote from the Little Prince and it is so true.  And I do agree that the heart is what matters in all things.  If we spent more time on healing our hearts and eachothers hearts and concentrated less on “beauty” as our society/humanity label it, this world might be a lovely place to live.  Thanks for sharing, my friend. - P

Seeing a dead leaf on a tarpit is not beauty (as defined by the masses, including myself). Capturing this dead leaf and giving it life in your picture, that is art. - Marvin

I happen to find beauty in dead things – maybe I should re-word this – dead plants…there, that sounds better – so this really appeals to me.  When I looked at it I saw burnt ground and what was left of a tree – a branch with withered leaves that somehow didn’t burn up.  - SH

The tar pits might be odious, however the dead leaves have meaning. It too has experienced the seasons in life. At one time those leaves were beautiful and full of youth, providing to the exquisiteness of this earth. Now they have reached the end. I can’t help to stop and wonder… how amazing our God is to create a part of nature which to some, is insignificant but to other who see the delicacy that He has endow us with so that we are given the privilege to appreciate.

As always, appreciative for the beauty that you behold and the desire to share it with me.  - Lisa

This image tells a story about an unfortunate piece of arid land with not enough water for things to grow, dry and barren.  Looking out the window, one experiences the undeniable power of the seething eyes of the sun, ready to contribute further the desolate feeling of this forlorn, uninteresting desert.  And this suffocating heat causes these leaves to seek refuge, where there is none.  With the triple digits that we are experiencing nowadays, readily I empathize with what the leaves are going through.

Be cool - aU