Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beauty Through Destruction

When was the last time you saw, heard, or felt something that made you literally stop where you were and ponder the beauty of it? In the scene shown above we see a young woman, dressed in a black turtleneck and black pants, hair pulled back into a ponytail, and black-rimmed glasses, taking a walk. Her hand is casually lingering on her hip, her head is turned to the left, a frown decorates her face, and her eyes are focused on something in the distance. The building she is walking past shows a contrast of light and dark colored brick while the dirt and debris-filled street she is walking can be reminiscent of post-war Europe. Strategically placed between this young woman and the building behind her stands an upright piano on plywood platforms engulfed in flames. Although beauty is oftentimes sought after in perfection, sometimes it is through the destruction of an object that it then becomes beautiful.  

            The entirety of this photograph is in black and white, giving the viewer a sense of significance and solemnity, which is accentuated by viewing the look on the young woman’s face. It is interesting to note that her gaze is not focused on the burning piano behind her, but instead on something in front of her. This young woman is on a journey, and does not stop to digest the destruction. She keeps walking, as depicted by the blurred movement lines on her lifted right foot. The beauty noted by this action is that while the burning piano is out of place, on fire and outdoors, this young woman keeps walking.

She seems to be oblivious to the burning musical instrument behind her, yet we suspect that cannot be. The heat of the flames makes her warm, the sound of the strings burning and popping alerts her ears, while the smell of the wood and veneer burning signals her nose. This piano on fire is not beautiful in the sense of destruction, but through the destruction beauty can be found in the way it affects the senses of the young woman.  

While at first this picture portrays to the viewer a sense of gloom, devastation, and confusion, it is then through those initial feelings we can appreciate the warm, musical qualities that it exhibits through the two framed focal points: the beautiful young woman and the burning piano. Beauty can be defined as something that makes you stop, think, and appreciate.

            We all have a choice to see beauty every day of our lives. We can relate to the old dilapidated building in the background by witnessing destruction in front of us, but still having the ability to stand tall. We can connect with the young woman who is on a mission- a journey- in her life and while she passes by destruction, she chooses to keep walking. In contrast, we can be like the piano who, when under fire, is still able to give warmth and a musical quality to those who see our despair. Finding beauty through destruction is your choice, and a choice that will affect the viewers of your life.

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