Tuesday, December 20, 2005

echoes [of aesthetics and physics]

Originally uploaded by mappamundi.

mappamundi shared this in the camera toss photo pool recently and it is an excellent example of something I have been meaning to expound on a little...

...of aesthetics and physics

Are there aesthetics that almost every human can appreciate? Certainly many believe so. A good example is the "Golden Ratio" and how it crops up everywhere in nature and man made design (see Golden Ratio Aesthetics and Golden Ratio on Wikipedia).

Personally I believe we do have some pre defined sense of aesthetics that relates to how our world looks and behaves. We have individual higher aesthetics beyond that, but there seems to be some base which we start from. It's a natural sense, something we have aquired just by existing and absorbing our world. Physics, including the physics of a thrown object, seem to me to fall firmly inside that realm. And when that flying object is capable of recording that motion visually... the result is capable of triggering those natural aesthetics in the viewer.

Obviously there are other ways to achieve photography that speaks to our natural aesthetic sense, but throwing your camera seems to almost force you to do it.

As mappamundi has achieved with this photo, throwing a camera near an unnatural subject, has produced a very natural looking image. A picture of physics. A picture that some, myself included, will consider beautiful. Beautiful for the same reasons that I enjoy images of outer space, watching reeds moving in the wind, curls of smoke rising, cloud formations, and leaves spiraling as they fall.

Some more unnatural pictures of nature, my own, part of the reason why it's been on my mind:

Assorted examples by clickykbd.


Anonymous said...

Your images are reminiscent of harmonograph drawings: patterns in sound drawn using pendulums. Food for thought.

Unknown said...

Excellent observation. I had been familiar with the toy "spirograph" but had not observed the "harmonograph" which seems to be the same thing with slightly more variables to let the artist experiment with different shapes. Spirographs utilize circles, harmonographs utilize the physics of pendulumn motion. Very related indeed. I've also had comments comparing some results to "photograms".

Anonymous said...

analogies aside, what's fascinating about these images is the culminative aesthetic. New things coming together to produce something anyone can do and everyone can share (Flickr).
At the same time, if analogy, or rather lateral thinking helps to broaden your own enquiry so much the better.