What is beauty, actually?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:11 am

OK, all you beauty experts. Put your ideas to good use and tell me which of these photos you consider beautiful. http://www.flickr.com/photos/49904366@N06/
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:31 am

I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for some harsh comments I made earlier on this thread.
My business is creating beauty; perhaps I've had too much time to think about it.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby manas » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:07 am

Hi Alan, regarding your photos on flikr, 'Summer Sunset' is particularly beautiful, IMHO. I can't say why. Probably just conditioning. But so be it.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:39 am

Thank you!
Perhaps we should just leave it there?
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:35 am

Hi, Alan,
I've said nice things about your photos in another thread and I'll do so again: I think nearly all of the photos you have linked to (in your last post but one) are beautiful. But I'll risk offending you in the hope of making my feedback more useful to you:
I find some of your colour schemes a bit too garish for my taste - Coconut Island #2, for instance. Some of them seem quite unnatural (eg the bright green sea in Gulf Light #3 - it may be realistic, but it's not like seas I know) and that, in terms of my life-affirming, survival-value rationale for beauty, sets off alarm signals somewhere in my reptilian brainstem.
Quite a few of them are too static to hold my interest for long. You seem to be trying hard for balance, which is generally good, but its downside is dullness and predictability. In terms of my life-affirming, survival-value rationale again, static=dead, moving=alive, and alive is good. For that reason, I particularly like Lift Off, and I like Boardwalk Rain Sunrise because the asymmetry gives the (admittedly static) subject a sense of movement.
Hope this makes sense and is a tiny bit useful,
:namaste:
Kim
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:15 pm

On the Mickey Mouse Show they offered a very good approach to understanding exactly what beauty is......they would just say , "Beauty is as Beauty does....that's what Wise Men say...." I think that by contemplating this wisdom will arise and all will be reviled.....
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:09 am

Thank you, Kim!
I need good feedback like that. Too often I just hear praise, which is nice, but doesn't help much.
To your points:
Yeah, Coconut Island is too colorful. That is why I am so unsure of it. True to form, lots of people like it. But I did not manipulate the colors. That is summer light here.
Gulf light #3: That's the gulf! It really looks like that, under ideal circumstances. It is the romantic in me--I'm in love with that green.
One reason why the project is called "Gulf Light" is to show the extraordinary combination of shallow water and a shell/light sand bottom under high summer skies. Deeper water is more blue, as I'm sure you know.
Static: Yes, that is a legit complaint. My photos have always been kind of static. But I keep doing it anyway. Something about stasis appeals to me. Crazy light/crazy colors=require stasis? Either way, I like to show a point of reference that can be easily known by the viewer. Find it kind of comforting. My attempts to go off static usually fail.
Personally, I'm not static. I'm kind of cynical. But for some reasons I like the photos to be romantic, perhaps simple, images that express the world as I wish it could be.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:18 pm

What is ugliness, actually?
Could it be that beauty is to attachment as ugliness is to aversion?
Why is it that "beauty" is so often referred to but even the word "ugliness" seems foreign from lack of use....maybe it is because we are attracted to beauty and repelled from the ugliness?....so could it be that beauty just means we are attracted and ugliness just means that we are repelled?....could it be just that simple?
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby cooran » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:40 pm

chownah wrote:What is ugliness, actually?
Could it be that beauty is to attachment as ugliness is to aversion?
Why is it that "beauty" is so often referred to but even the word "ugliness" seems foreign from lack of use....maybe it is because we are attracted to beauty and repelled from the ugliness?....so could it be that beauty just means we are attracted and ugliness just means that we are repelled?....could it be just that simple?
chownah

Hello chownah,

Yes - this post combined with your previous one about Beauty being in the eye of the Beholder sums it up. There is nothing that has something intrinsic called 'beauty' or 'ugliness'. It is just attachment and aversion exhibiting their nature.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:36 pm

Personally, I think beauty has a lot to do with our own perceptions.

Case in point - at university there was a girl in the class ahead of me who was stunningly beautiful. So striking it was hard to look at her.

However, she wasn't a terribly nice person. And a few years later, it just struck me - hey - Tracy no longer looks beautiful to me. I can still see her perfect features, etc. but ... she no longer looked 'beautiful' to me.

I mentioned this 'phenomenon' to someone who had gone to high school with this 'beautiful' girl, and she said, 'O yeh, that happened to me too. I remember when I first saw her in high school - blown away by how gorgeous she was - and then, as I got to know her - she ceased to be pretty. She's an 'ugly' person, really.

Talk about anicca ... not just of beauty but the anicca of our own perceptions ...

V.
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