A Little Thing: Endearment by Detail

pollen covered bee feeding on a dandelion

Dig in: this pollen-covered bee is not standing on ceremony or waiting for napkins!

I usually think of art as a celebration of beauty (or truth when the two do not line up exactly). As I briefly discussed in yesterday’s bee post, taste and subjectivity are involved to a large degree in the appreciation of art, and taste will probably affect understanding of an artwork to a certain degree. And yet the conveyance of beauty and truth is the thing; how that is communicated is essentially the work of the artist.

Mastery over one’s discipline or media is the goal and probably for most artists an ongoing challenge. It seems to me, a certain level of authorial intent is necessary to make great art. Total control on the other hand seems like a good way to deaden creativity. Sometimes, for myself especially, I find the best way forward is just to “let things happen.” Part of me wants to call it luck, which perhaps debases the creative process, so part of me doesn’t, but the difference between luck and free-flowing creativity may be a semantic one. A matter of taste if you will.

That leads me to a hypothesis: from that taste there comes a distinction between recognizing greatness or success in a work of art and loving a work of art. I was looking at this photo of our bumbling yellow-dusted friend and wondering what it was that made it endearing (and I do find it so). I concluded it was in the details, small and specific things that spoke directly to me. They make a work personal for individuals who now have a shared point of reference, i.e. the artwork. From one to many’s tastes, this is how the work becomes powerful.

In this shot, one fortuitous detail in particular grabbed and held me. Photographing bugs is great for “lucky” details. They’re like unexpected gifts.

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