Viewfinders Manifesto #2: Beauty
We believe that the beauty of photography can be found in the practice AND in the result.
What makes something beautiful? Why are we drawn to certain colors, certain light, certain views? Once we capture those components in a photograph, what makes the resulting images resonate — not only to ourselves, but to others?
Once you put an image out into the world to be seen, there’s a little leap of faith that goes along with that action. Will other people like it? Will they see what I saw, feel what I felt? Do they find the beauty in it? We post our photos online in order to engage with the photography community and get feedback, but what does it mean when a favorite photo — a beautiful photo — goes unnoticed or underappreciated?
This month the Viewfinders are choosing an image from their archives that they found particularly beautiful that may have been overlooked in the photo-sharing process. We want to highlight the beauty in these images, and share the reasons that they are meaningful to us.
We hope you’ll share your images with us through a link in the comments, or by posting them on Instagram with the #viewfindersio hashtag.
This photograph was taken standing outside a dry-cleaning shop on a cold winter’s day. Inside the shop it was so warm and steamy that the windows beaded up with moisture, creating an abstract composition of color and line. The window also reflected the buildings behind me across the street, which adds another dimension to the photograph that I find intriguing. This is one of my favorite images from the last year. —lucy
I took this photo while walking around Point Reyes, CA. I was drawn to the weathered buoys, the lovely flowers, the pop of orange in that lone California poppy. I love the look of the lomo film, the faded nature of that medium. This photo brings back happy memories of travel and friendship. —Meghan
This is a photo I took a few summers ago. I rather like the flare of the sun, the silhouette of beach grasses, the warm tones. I also really like the memory this image conjures for me…that of an early morning beach walk. Solo. Quiet. It reminds me how powerful the connection between camera and person-holding-camera is. xMichelle
Technically imperfect, this image of our daughter reminds me of a summer in France surrounded by the heady smell of lavender, the sound of the splash of the swimming pool and the promise of a lovely meal and some rosé with friends. It’s an inbetween moment; as we moved from the swimming pool to the dinner table, as the sun moved from high to low in the sky, as the girl started to change to a woman.–kirstin
The focus is off, but I somehow love it still. The blossoms and the sunlight seeming to dance together feel like spring announcing summer’s arrival. I also love that it is film. Film will always have my heart. —Staci
This image is the result of trying expired film for the first time on a dark, cloudy day. I don’t like the brownish cast or the grain, but I love that it is an image of my soon to be teenager, posing for me in a rare moment of mother/son complicity. I dread the difficult teenage years ahead and I miss the smiling, toothless baby he once was. This photo is my reminder that, even though I may not like what his teenage years bring, I need try hard to hold on and not lose him in the difficult road we yet have to travel together. Maite
One of my favorite foods, in my sister-in-law’s kitchen, an ocean away, on film. It’s not necessarily pretty or perfectly in focus, but to say I love this photo would be a vast understatement. Something about it takes me back, and that is all that matters in the end. – Holly
It’s a bit contrary, I know, but then I can be a bit contrary – sometimes I hold my most favorite photos close for a long time. I don’t know why, but I am sometimes overtaken by an urge to keep a dear photo to myself as if it is too tender to hold up to public scrutiny. I abide the instinct. Usually, after time, I am ready to release my darlings into the wild. This photo, a personal favorite of mine from my trip last summer, was taken almost a year ago in a silent spot off the beaten path on Burano.
Of course I think she is beautiful, she is my baby, my girl. She is often my muse, my shadow. She can frustrate me like no other human and make me smile so big and loud. I shot this image using the new Fashion pack in the Hipstamatic app. Dirt under her fingernails, sun screen on her skin; sloshing the tub water higher and higher and tempting it to spill over on to the bathroom floor. She is a ghost of time and a reminder of how quickly it all passes.
Sometimes the photos that are most meaningful for me are from my phone, snapped on days where my family need escape and we hit the road even if it’s just for a couple of hours. We load the vanagon with snacks and books and the dog, head somewhere pretty where we can walk and see views and take a mental breather from life at home. And return home refreshed. This photo is from one of those days last year where life overwhelmed so we headed to one of our favourite destinations – Point Reyes Station. A small town near the coast in Northern California, not too far from where we live. We got coffee, pastries, walked the dog and then parked the van with a view out the open door. If I close my eyes I’m there….
We had just finished a home project and we were celebrating by having lunch at a local brewery. I was especially taken with the light shining on the taps as the barkeep poured and I snapped a shot with my phone. I don’t normally love my iPhone photos, but in this case, I was smitten. The light and the dark contrasted just how I hoped and the pop of color on the beer…. I uploaded to Instagram and then? Nada. But it reminds me that I’m not doing this photography thing for “likes” and followers. I’m doing it because I feel called to the light. To collecting the moments and paying attention to the things that others might miss. I’m doing it for ME. – Angie