Beyond Beauty


This is the thing I struggle with: it’s so easy to look beautiful. At least for a photographer. You learn to see, find, capture beauty. And you can always return to it – whenever you feel rejected, insecure, anything, and are in need of validation. You share a pretty picture on social media, get compliments and for a while, your world feels okay again.

But it’s a coward thing to do. To exploit beauty as a refuge. It takes courage to resist the temptation of beauty and the validation it gives. Turn your back on it, look the other way. Or beyond it. What lies there? The courage to be raw, maybe? But then – how does that courage look like? Is it the opposite? Or can it be beautiful, too? Maybe it’s a different kind of beauty?

My last six months consisted of testings of my limits. How honest can I be? How far can I go? Looking at my self-portraits from that time, I hardly see any pretty photos. I was in a fortunate position: no matter how many conflicts raged within me, no matter how much pain and confusion my flaws (or well, I) caused – I was fine, accepted, and loved.

It encouraged me to let go of this urge to please in my photography. There was no necessity of having to look good, wearing a mask. So I let go and it felt great.

Then I took a bold step.

I tripped.

I fell into a puddle of insecurity.

Now it clings to me and I’m tempted to run towards beauty. I want to wrap it like a warm blanket around me. Feel its comfort and let it reassure me.

But – “Once you know your truth you won’t be able to lie to yourself anymore.”

I know my truth.

Maybe it’s not courage that’s driving me. I simply don’t have a choice. Self-deception is not an option.

What lies beyond beauty and how does it look like?

I don’t know.

But I’ll find out.

portrait of a dear friend

    1. You’re beauty shows more in your thoughts acts and words far more than what anyone sees.
      I’ve heard that these IG girls prepare for hours and have hundreds of shots taken to get that good one. That’s not beauty… It’s fake.
      I’m sure when you get there what you find is far better. ☺️

      1. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Simon! I wasn’t even speaking about those IG girls, but it definitely goes into that direction. But you’re right, it’s fake, and I’m looking for authenticity. :) Have a lovely week!

        1. It’s my pleasure, I think if you’re authentic you soon find out who deserves your attention. Have a great week too :-)

    1. Marvellous site in a nebulous way.
      Confusing site in a directional way.
      Beautiful site in a photogenic way.

      I am Robert and I smile less than I should.
      But I’m trying.

      1. What a beautiful comment, thank you, Robert!
        The second part is both sad and hopeful. I guess we’ll be fine, as long as we try :)

    1. Your skin, and all that is contained within, is a mere animation created by your soul. The essence of your soul is not your personality, or that which confronts the camera. The soul’s essence is beyond beauty. It is the fulfillment of Divine Love. Whatever insecurity your mind may conjure up, as a bi-product of an insecure ego, is just mental noise. Your photos capture a deeper search that is all beauty, all the time. When the camera is in your hand it’s an extension of your inspiration. Even when you capture your self on a timed exposure and the camera is across the room it’s still an extension of your inspiration. The courage you have to look at them is dependent on how deep you want to travel into the love your soul has for its own animated self. The wonderful thing about the camera is the way it finds moments in time that allows us to use OUR imagination to create our own story about you. In that I find the most interesting tale. Keep the story going.

    1. The photo at the top of this post is a powerful one. The subject’s (is it you?) curved spine and lifeless, backwards facing arms speak of both emotional torment and exhaustion. Honesty can be beautiful in its own right, even if it’s not stereotypically happy.

    1. Thanks for the mix of black and white and color. Black and white can be a greater challenge than color. When I was a photographer, I shot each subject with both. That was the time of film. All the various film brands, speeds and densities, hours in darkrooms coaxing the best out of negatives I could not know until I developed them. Today, so much is automatic, and control of images is way greater than darkroom magic. It leaves more time for creative selection and emphasis.

      1. I love ‘unbeautiful’, it’s exactly what I’m looking for. Not ugly, but not beautiful, either. Have a wonderful weekend! <3

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