Wednesday, January 16, 2013

About Art - and my 2013 calendar::Wednesday, January 16

A friend of mine made this comment on my Merrie Melody Photography facebook page yesterday:

Until I made it to college, I didn't appreciate there is an ongoing, centuries old debate about the definition of beauty and art. Students of the humanities get an especially potent dose of this debate, and to most people, it probably seems like so much nonsense. In the end, it's all very personal, but the artist is left trying to balance answering the call to express him or herself with creating art that appeals to and connects with others.

The spontaneous, tender moment and unique perspective you've captured here appeals to me, as do many of your pictures, and I can't wait for your art to find a wider, appreciative audience, something I presume you desire.

in regard to this picture:

It really set the wheels of my brain spinning, thinking about Art and what makes Art.

(As a side note: A few years ago when Steve & I were in Park City, Utah, there was a painting of a nude woman in one of the shops. I was bugged, and he and I talked about what makes a picture simply nude art as compared to pornography. I later discussed this with a female friend, and we decided that if the person in the painting looks better than us it is porn; if we look better than them, it is art. ;)

This is how I responded to my friend's comment:

Everyone has such a unique perspective and life experience for reference that it can be tricky to find a photo that a wide variety of people can relate to and like. The artist himself/herself has to connect with the scene to be shot in the first place. In fact, many times my family will want me to shoot this or that scene, but I tell them that they'll have to take the picture themselves because I'm not connecting to it.

I have come to the conclusion that the artist has to be true to himself/herself and the viewer will either love the picture or not; the artist cannot please everyone with every shot.

I remember one picture that I offered as my assignment in a photography class; I thought was amazing, yet it wasn't voted as a favorite. I had a hard time understanding why, because the composition was correct, the lighting was good, and the subject matter poignant. This was this picture:

I talked to the teacher about it after class, and he praised it as being very good and photo journalistic in style, much like those that show up in "National Geographic". He said that it wasn't voted as a favorite because it made people sad, and since people don't like to be sad, they avoid that feeling even in art. I linked to an article about that very topic this morning:

Art *is* totally subjective. What really speaks to me another may see as ordinary.

I hadn't even paid attention to this picture the first time I looked through the pics on the SD card. It was only today, when I saw it with fresh eyes that I saw the beauty in it. I love this picture, not only because it is of my daughter Emily, but because it could be of any cat lover. I love the unadulterated joy and love that she seems to be feeling at that very moment, and I love how the cat is reciprocating it right back to her. It is a magical moment.

It has been said that artists have a style about their work that is as unique as a fingerprint. This tells me that we need to just be ourselves - show what is beautiful and interesting to us, and others will be drawn to our work because of those qualities. It is difficult to be original; I believe that our humanness wants us to offer only what other's will like, so in the beginning we attempt to mimic someone that we admire. As we practice and become more sure of ourselves, we become uniquely ourselves and create our own artistic fingerprint. It is an amazing process.

The picture of Emily with the cat I found as I was going through folders of my animal pics because I'm getting ready to publish a 2013 calendar. It is a calendar solely of animals: cats, dogs, chickens, baby goats, ducks, and a bunny rabbit.

This is the back cover, showing all 12 pictures - one for every month, though not in this particular order:

After I get it back from the printer and make sure it is exactly how I want it, I will offer one here as a give away, so be watching for it :) I will also offer it in my etsy shop, over at

Have a wonderful day just being yourself!


  1. I am not a cat lover and so most cat pictures don't really do anything for me, but I really love this one. I feel like I could be a cat lover when I look at it.

    also thanks for the link to the Les Mis article I totally agree.

  2. Thanks GlowWorm, that is very flattering! :)

    And you are very welcome. It is true that it is uncomfortable to walk a mile in some people's shoes.