If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important Rule of Beauty. â€œWho cares?â€
A tuft of milkweed floss fluttered in the late afternoon sun. Attached to its dehydrated stalk, and entrenched in a meadow of past-perfect grasses, enchantment clung to the glimmering silk threads. I had my camera in hand and felt deeply drawn to the wonder of nature.
Everybody takes photos of milkweed, I thought. It’s been done and done and done. And yet. I wanted to keep the moment for later study, perhaps on a sub-zero winter’s day when meadows and temperate breezes failed my imagination.
I approached the plant, demanding…what?
The light. Was it right for capturing what I felt? Not really. Grey day, blah-ness all around.
Were there strong compositional lines? Nope.
Would Jim Brandenburg take this shot? Heck, who was I kidding? Jim could make spit hanging off a lip look noble and sell a ba-jillion copies.
None of the photographic “stuff” was right, and yet I loved the image in my head as much as I loved the image in front of me. And then it hit me. Â Why did I feel a need to defend beauty as artistically worthy?
Why couldn’t I, why shouldn’t I, take the shot for beauty’s sake? Probably because I’ve heard too many artists I admire say there needs to be “more.” A story, boldness, unique power and awe. Leave the ordinary for mass-produced postcards.
Yeah, but. The milkweed was purdy.
Tossing the devil of art off my shoulder, I took the photo. No regrets.
A few days later I attended the Northern Exposures Photography club’s “Fifth Monday.” Â Â https://www.facebook.com/Northern-Exposures-Photography-Club-112816717862/Â Â It is a time to share up to ten photographs we’ve been working on while gleaning feedback and inspiration from the group. Â I did not include my milkweed shot because I had others in need of a critique. But, to my delight, at least two other attendees did have milkweed photographs. They poo-poo’d their shots. “Not much to say,” they shrugged, “it is just milkweed.”
Oh, but I knew different. Â Enchantment hits hard when fluttering in the late afternoon sun.
Beauty just because. The best part of my day.