I stood in the bathroom of our small, rented house in Hawaii and stared at the details of the picture hanging on the wall. I'd already stared at it the previous day, and I knew I would stare at it again on the following. Something about it was captivating to me. It was much too small for the wall it was hanging on, it tilted a little too far counter-clockwise, and relatively important parts of the print itself were cut off because it was slightly too big for the frame. But all of these things, that generally would have driven me crazy, gave the picture an ironic flavor that was impossible to ignore... because the print inside read:
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
And there I was, looking at all of these imperfections and seeing something beautiful - right there in the meaning of that quote. I briefly wondered if the owner had purposefully been sloppy just to drive home a point.
In the days that have followed, this quote has become a favorite of mine, drifting in and out of my mind in wisps and fragments. I think it will go down in the archives of my mind as a truth I hope to pass along to my children. Timely, too...
I suspect that much of the beauty I find in Vegas will be of the kind that I see, and less of the kind that I look at, and this intimidates the photographer side of me. As photography has become more and more of a passion of mine, and since I've had my eye focused on beauty this year, I have learned that, without work, the camera simply captures what I look at. It cannot add feelings or emotions or meanings-of-quotes - it cannot add the past stories or present hopes and dreams that might make the scene beautiful to me. It simply records light. And dark. And colors. It's up to me then, as the photographer, to create the emotion behind it. I hope I will find as much joy in photography if I have to work so hard to create it.
But, photography aside, I'm feeling more and more confident that I will see lots of beauty in Vegas. And, I'm even feeling a measure of excitement as Brian soars through his very last two weeks as a student... ever... (wait, what?), and as we catapult ourselves into this new life of Real Job.
When I get there I'm going to try not to spend much time looking for beauty.
I'm just going to try to see it.