I spent the morning alone, so naturally I grabbed my camera.  That wonderful little thing might as well be an oxygen tank.  It has saved me more times than I can count.

I’ve had this idea for a shoot in my head for a long time, so I dug out an old bridesmaid’s dress and my even older ballet moves and danced for the self timer, 10 seconds at a time.  One of my goals this spring and summer (and beyond) is to do many more of these sessions, but with someone else dancing, and me behind the camera.  The best of the shots from this morning are on my website under ‘People.’  These are the others I loved and wished to share.

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Fascination with beauty

I have long harbored anger over our society’s obsession with the perceived perfection of youthful beauty, but flipping through the pages of a catalog filled with that beauty this morning I had a revelation.  It makes sense that we would revere that which is beautiful, hold it up and stare at it endlessly.  We hang the artwork of talented artists in our museums, then pay admission to stand in front of these pieces and devour them with our eyes.  Humankind’s most gifted sculptors have created statues so spellbinding, we will buy plane tickets and fly to see them.  Maybe as humans, our obsession with the beautiful faces and bodies of our most gorgeous offspring is more like our awe at the work of our artists and less an unhealthy fascination with an ideal.  Or at least that’s what it should be.  Not a shift in the subjects we put in our magazines, but a shift in how we view them.

People are rarely born so physically attractive that we would want to see them in all their splendor on a billboard, larger than life itself.  Our culture needs to move away from our attempt to attain this beauty, and more toward a more healthy worship of it.  After all, much as we might like to be famous artists, most of us do not spend our time on this earth torturing ourselves over our inability to produce the next Rembrandt-quality painting.

We will always be attracted to that which is beautiful.  We spend most of our lives (if we’re lucky) older, wrinkled, imperfect.  We want what we can’t have, and for those of us past 30, that’s the flawlessness of youth.  What we need to remember is that the perfectly imperfect among us should be just as happy to forgo self-flagellation as we gaze at our supermodels as we are when we stare at the work of the Old Masters.

Except for the genetically rare few, we were not birthed with the talent or the looks; both ideals are equally unattainable.  We will stare because we cannot help ourselves, but we also need to find our way to live at peace with our wrinkles and our asymmetry.