Confronted by Beauty
Over the past month, I have created more art photos than the year prior. There are a lot of reasons, but the reality of seeing and creating anew is refreshing, rejuvenating and invigorating. I have the honor of being inspired by many who allow me the time to create based on who I see; I have the gift of beauty in locales that I live in, live near or have visited.
Today I learned that five images of mine were selected for a juried competition titled Body Image that will open on August 18 at The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake. When selecting and printing the images to submit, I was taken by the beauty that I have been allowed to see and convey through photography. Today, I taught my class titled The Seeing, Not the Taking, (this is the book inspired by the workshops). Discussing the things that inspire us as photographers and teaching photographers new ways to see with all five senses reinforces my beliefs. The images that I took of women in the Czech Republic expanded my vision as none of them said with the words or body language, "do I look okay?" but all seemed to say "I hope you like what you see." There was no preening in front of mirrors, no checks of makeup, no requests to be on the lookout for any imperfections. They just hoped I saw beauty...and I did.
I felt this was a good time to re-issue a Listen to Life on beauty that appeared in m book, published several years ago. It is now also available on Kindle! Anyway, the message is that we are all called to identify beauty and protect it. I hope you enjoy it.
Calling Out Beauty
"Ojo. Ojo." That is simply all she said, but what she meant was significant and a lesson for us all.
I've overhead several Hispanic women over the years whisper "Ojo, ojo" as they touched something they deemed beautiful, which has included each of my three sons when they were infants. Someone explained the cultural tradition of calling out beauty and protecting it from the "evil eye" in that way. This process was important to keep the eye from seeing the beauty and robbing it from the holder, as it was explained to me. "Ojo," means "eye" in Spanish.
We all benefit if we call out beauty to others. And by doing so, we not only make ourselves open to the myriads of creation's beauty, we also protect it from the "evils" that destroy it. The more aware that others are to the beauty of rivers, swamps, babies, women of all shapes and sizes, birds, buildings, et cetera, the greater chance that others will feel compelled to accept and protect them as beautiful. Think of the implications as varied as environmentalism and partner abuse-we tend to not destroy what we deem as truly beautiful.
Calling out beauty also brings more of it to our attention. Consider how a child responds to your praise and recognition of her artwork, particularly when you post it somewhere like a wall or refrigerator door. Before long, she is showing you more and more of her work. Once we call out the beauty of creation, it responds by showing us more and more, as well.
Look at the people, scenes and world around you. They are beautiful. Protect them. "Ojo.....ojo."
(Feel free to take a look at my PDF booklet titled God, You're Beautiful: What We Say, We Say to God
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2011 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.