Last week’s Beauty Shot Friday’s question was, “Where do you find beauty and bounty in your day?” We received an awesome range of photographic answers and I’ve selected a few personal favorites here.
I think this photo by Rolan Gregg epitomizes many visual perceptions of the Pacific Northwest and simultaneously depicts a sense of mystery and awe at the natural landscape of the region. Where else can you find expansive mountains, endless forests, and crashing, tumbling waves close to an elegant cityscape? Rolan’s photograph, in my opinion, speaks to the desire to move through natural landscapes in a mode of curiosity, spontaneity, and with an open-mind and observant eye. It portrays a bounty of nature’s beautiful entities.
I selected Mira’s photo because it is a unique submission and provoked me to think more about what defines an “explorer.” That term usually evokes images of people navigating themselves through unfamiliar land and persevering through tough circumstances in order to see what no one else has. But what about other kinds of explorers, such as scientists? Could we even use our bodies to explore the world around us if we had no knowledge of our bodies’ biological compositions, needs, and how to take care of them? Mira’s photograph reminded me not only of the vulnerability of the human body but also the incredible thing it really is, how a body can be a realm of exploration as much as a mountain. We accept we have bones, muscles, and organs that are all made up of different cells but how many of us have actually seen epithelial or muscle cells up close? Unseen or not, we rely on them to function correctly so we can explore and interact within our environments.
Speaking of bodies, I selected two photos in conjunction with each other because of their emphasis on little bodies: children. In her submission, Taylor Wise-Harthorn, a museum and gallery manager at the Holland Museum in Michigan, mentioned that she “find[s] beauty and bounty in the museum’s youngest visitors” as “their excitement and love of learning” is a prime motivation for Taylor and her colleagues to work in the museum. Coupled with this photo, I have selected Alex Dymovsky’s photo of his little sister who appears to be looking directly at his camera and even taking some small steps forward. Seeing the glimmer of a smile on her face makes me feel light and joyful, and I also wonder what she is smiling about. Maybe at her older brother or maybe at an imaginative image she has composed herself. What environments is she creating and exploring with her imagination?
With regard to imagination, I selected Jason Wolf’s photo of a tumbled array of oil pastels. He says that they are his “bounty” and from them he “creates [his] beauty.” This reminds me of our exhibitions Beauty & Bounty & Reclaimed because they are examinations of the collaborations between artists, exploration, and the natural world. I believe artists are another form of explorer as they create images, noises, stories, etc. to provoke and challenge, explore and fascinate, give joy and give thought. I think Jason’s photo touches this idea as he will use a bounty of tools and techniques to create beauty as he defines it, thus exploring new artistic grounds and shareable interpretations.
Thinking of sharing, mealtime comes to mind. Mealtime is about interaction as much as it is about consuming food. Children eat lunch together at school; people ask each other out on dinner dates; families eat together; holidays usually include either intense feasting or fasting. A lot of our interactions involve food and Dan’s photo alludes to this with its platter of bountiful food and two empty chairs that, even without bodies occupying them, appear to be in conversation with each other. It is an inviting image of a meal ready to be consumed and of an evening ready to commence.
In closing I’d like to suggest that you submit your own photos to Beauty Shot Fridays. As mentioned before, email your photo (and captions) to firstname.lastname@example.org .We update our question on the SAM Facebook page every Monday by 3pm and will upload your submissions to the page every Friday by 4pm. This week’s question is: Capture a favorite memory from your experiences in the outdoors. This could be in a park, a hike, a favorite part of the city—whatever “the outdoors” means to you!
-Madeleine Dahl, Public Relations Intern
Top photo: Rolan Gregg: My bounty is the sound of water touching land.