Sunday, October 16, 2011

Picture This

This is Saturn, with the Sun directly behind it, illuminating the rings -- a perspective never before seen by human eyes.  The photo was taken a few months back by the astonishingly successful Cassini probe.  Today I'm abandoning all pretext of conforming to the theme of this blog; this isn't about murder or crime-writing, or even Thailand.  It is, I suppose, about everywhere.

One of the gifts of the online world that I hear praised least often is the continual flow of beautiful images it brings us, with just the slightest amount of effort on our part.  There's Saturn, up there.  Here's beauty on a much smaller scale, the world of earthly insects. . .

. . . or an extravagantly camouflaged seahorse. (These are all worth clicking on, to see them bigger.)

Everyone's seen tigers, and everyone's seen water, but have you ever seen this before?

Oh, you have not.  And if you have, what about this?

One of the thing the Internet has done for us is to create a sort of global Aladdin's cave for beauty and creativity of every kind.  The world is jammed full of talented people.  Su Blackwell lives in England and makes sculptures from books.  Here's the Mad Hatter's tea party from (and made from) Alice in Wonderland.

 Work by a woman in Russia who calls herself Valeria, and who takes photographs in the tradition of Old Masters still-life paintings . . .

. . . and an Australian painter named Jeremy Geddes, who brings Old Master techniques to modern, dreamlike images, such as "Perfect Vacuum."  (Note that the window is breaking inward.)

Oh, this could go on forever.  Let's just finish with some star circles, one of the miracles of time-lapse still photography.  The star that's "holding still" in the center is the North Star.
If you come across anything beautiful send it to me, okay?


  1. These pictures are masterpieces in a new field of art. There will be museums dedicated to juxtaposing digital art such as the still life against one painted by a gifted human. Both require an eye that most of us don't have. The light and shadow in that picture create something more than what is on the table. The silver water pitcher glows.

    This speaks to the various kinds of creativity that technology allows people to express. Whoever set up the photo is enormously creative: it is stylized but the grapes could have just fallen naturally. The reflection of the objects suggest they are on a mirror but that could be the result of a photographer's art in using the camera for more than taking a picture.

    The tiger is magnificent. All that raw, potentially destructive power, but he is smiling, enjoying cool water on a hot day. Saturn looks too perfect to be real. And the lady bug, what an eye for detail and what patience.

    My daughter just got a smartphone. She isn't smart enough to figure out how to use it as a phone but she is having a great time with the camera. The picture she sent me is a Zen moment, a recycled glass bottle with a bit of greenery in it next to a small picture in a frame. The objects are on a window sill and the bars on the window are a part of the picture. Beauty and calm are existing in a New York apartment. The first picture she sent her sister was of her foot. Artistry is abandoned in pursuit of clogging up the mailboxes of people who will at least look before deleting. She says it is the best present she has received since she was in elementary school. For now, she will be keeping her eyes open for beautiful moments.

    Thank you, Steve Jobs.

  2. I shall start searching immediately ... though I must say it will be hard to top that free-diving tiger.

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