ON POSSESSING BEAUTY
so stuff has been crazy here in greece lately, what with the end of the semester in two days! i just got done finishing up a dang paper for my “art and cycladic culture” class and really liked a portion of it and figured that i’d share!
Being in Prague was like coming alive again. Paros is an amazing island and it inspired me so much, but I’m a creature of the cold, and after a while the warmth of Mediterranean life began to stifle me. Arriving in a chilly place where the cold sometimes took my breath away was invigorating. Prague inspired me so much and I wanted to take every aspect of it home with me, but I learned and appreciated it so much more because I could not.
The week before arriving in Prague we had read “On Posessing Beauty” in Cameron’s class, and, as a photographer, was reminded of a quote from the chapter about the beginnings of photography related to travel. It said that people, “used the medium as a substitute, paying less attention to the world than they had done previously, taking it on faith that photography automatically assured them possession of it.” As I walked around town I admit that I wanted to take pictures of and try to capture everything with my digital! Yet I knew that this was not possible, and that doing so would only distract me from being truly present in the now of the experience.
It was an interesting experience going out with my manual camera however, quite different from wandering about with my Sony. Every shot I took was carefully crafted, the subject studied and examined before I clicked the button and the shutter snapped open. I noticed that I spent far more time noticing my surroundings when I didn’t have an infinite amount of shots to take; I took my time and slowed down to notice everything around me in order to be better inspired.
In the end my manual camera screwed up on the last day in Prague, ruining almost all the film that I had shot, and yet this only seemed to enforce the very point of “On Possessing Beauty”: the fact that we all need to slow down and appreciate our surroundings, taking longer to soak in our environment, because no way of capturing them and keeping that sense of beauty is certain.