Beauty in 36 Months

If, like me, you are interested in what makes beauty in a photo, you're obliged to buy Dutch photography magazine Focus for the next 36 months. For they started a new series of one-page columns called 'beauty for the advanced'. Hopefully a bit tongue-in-cheek the introduction states: 'The experience of beauty in photos is complex. After much research it appears that 36 elements are important for it. Usually in combination.'

Element number one is: focus, or rather out-of-focus. Out-of-focus photos suggest things, stimulate the viewer's phantasy. And they say a couple of other things about unsharp pictures, all true and interesting. But then the paragraph ends on: 'This is perceived as artistic.' Is this serious? Is it Flemish-Dutch (the columnist might be Flemish--I don't know)? Or is it ironic: who would want to be accused of being perceived as artistic? I don't know what to make of this column, but I will follow it for the next 36 issues--I subscribe to the magazine anyway.

And it inspired me to show you this photo: taking the idea of 'unsharp' in a slightly different manner, this portrait of a belly dancer at the Sonsbeek Theater Avenue, last month, is no out of focus, but as it was made without using a flash, there is some unsharpness due to the dancer's movement. Besides, there is unsharpness because I used a high ISO setting (6400, to be precise) which gives visible specles. Does this make her more 'symbolic', 'not THAT woman but THE woman'? Beauty?

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