Beauty, in the eye of the beholder. What does that mean?

Spring, Pigeon River, NC
Spring, Pigeon River, NC


A drive in the country when the mind is in neutral, then suddenly something pops. On this spring morning, when not expecting it, suddenly form, color and lines come into balance.

Nature provides.

One simply has to show up. Not all images have to be designed through our unique talents, made as they say. On the road to developing the artist’s eye, we often arrive at a point where something just looks right. We’re not sure why. It’s not important. Just capture the moment. That’s what photography is all about. Later in our – studying, reading, looking at images by others –  we can find the why.

Chance favors the prepared mind, they say. Luck. And to us goes the credit for showing up.

So why does this scene work?

  • First, it does have some balance. The trees and mass of grass seem to be balanced by the smaller spot of color across the river, near the upper right.
  • Secondly, Color can imply emotional feeling – the touch of yellow in green grass. The study of color therapy lists yellow & green this way…  Yellow: sunshine, happiness, hope, intelligence; Green: growth, healthiness, harmony, blooming, healing.
  • Thirdly, we notice that the lower edge of the water next to the grass forms a rough triangle if we use the edge of the frame as the other two axises. We also have to visually crop the grass up to where the water intersects to actually make a triangle. I first learned of the importance of triangles from Freeman Patterson. I now attempt to include graphic design elements whenever possible to strengthen the composition.

 In photography, there are no good or bad images, only more effective or less effective.

What attracts us to a scene? What is Beauty?

The foregoing narrative may seem to suggest that we all see things the same way. Far from it. However, some elements tend to sway more people toward labeling something as beauty.

Wikipedia says, The experience of “beauty” often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. Because this can be a subjective experience, it is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Webster says, the quality of being physically attractive, the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.

Pigeon River tree with flowers Image #2
Pigeon River tree with flowers Image #2

When I photographed this image I also made two other scenes I felt worthy. I’m including them here as I really couldn’t decide which to lead with, however, I wanted to open the discussion. You may have a preference.

Pigeon River #3 Bob Grytten images
Pigeon River #3 Bob Grytten images





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