for beauty's sake
I was 11 when Simone walked into my life. Right passed me actually on the way to school. Taller and older with big round eyes and silky straight raven hair to her waist, she had no idea who I was nor that she awakened my appreciation of style and beauty. I had little concept of love and sexuality but still I was in awe of her. She was magnificent. And I realised then that her beauty was as much about her poise, character, confidence and style as it was her perfect cheeks and blossoming womanhood.
Those elements have formed the core intent behind thousands of shots I've taken over the years of beautiful women who've simply left me awestruck. My elementary muse gifted me this insatiable desire to capture moments of undeniable beauty by virtue of style and character in addition to perfect features. I'd argue the former two outweigh the latter on many occasions. I'd argue also that beauty really does make the world go around. It's hardwired within procreative instincts and in the case of mankind we find beauty in a great deal of inanimate things also, like shiny new exotic automobiles and towers of glass and steel poking the clouds. I'm not sure bees ever sit back after a good hive-building jamboree and admire the artwork, but they are drawn to their queen as much as men just can't help but gaze upon a pretty woman in a summer dress. It's all perfectly natural and most men can pull it off without any training. I see a woman of character and confidence flitting across a busy intersection in summer dress on a sunny day with a light breeze and I am happy to be alive! And yes, we can still love our beautiful partners and appreciate public displays of awesomeness elsewhere. Appreciating beauty for beauty's sake can simply never be a bad thing. Denying such is a contradiction of our nature. If we were so prudish about inanimate beauty we'd have to live and die in blindfolds because it's everywhere we look when our eyes and souls are open to the infinite variety of beautiful existence.
A glorious woman (from my biased perspective) ranks in my top two most beautiful things in the cosmos. And just when I think I've seen the most beautiful girl next door, along walks another one, right passed me! The other is a glorious World Cup winning goal for England but clearly that doesn't happen much, so this gallery belongs only to inspiring women.
dung beetle dreamscapes
Needless to say, so I'll say it, beauty is subjective. Or as Irish novelist Margaret Wolf Hungerford wrote 138 years ago, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". A Dung Beetle for instance has little appreciation for England rolling a football over a German goal line, but show him a steaming mound of poo and he'll carve his own ball and roll it home itself. Seriously, think about that for a moment... does a Dung Beetle experience the 'sensation' of being awestruck by the sight of crap? Do certain odourous mounds appeal to his cravings more? Who can really be sure? I can tell you with certainty though that every single day I am inspired by my wife's ass. Not what comes out of it (back off Dung Beetle) but rather absolutely everything else you can imagine appreciating about a woman's unmistakably beautiful bottom. And hey, out here on the west coast mesmerizing yoga pant bottoms are a way of life. Arguably British Columbia is the global epicentre of women who leave you breathless walking away! Now again this is all subjective because it's possible there's some idiot somewhere who finds confident women in painted-on leggings a bit unsightly. Possible!
What transcends subjectivity are the core elements of awe whether that be one unmistakeable example, or the glory of two or more essentials converging in time and space before my lens. Are we drawn to the obvious or teased by subtleties that some might even dismiss. If you define awe (in regards to beauty) simply as the fortunate arrangement of perfect beautiful features, you're missing most of the magic. Being born gorgeous certainly has its benefits (not from personal experience!) but add style, movement, character and sexuality and you'll understand why men have toppled kingdoms for the curves of their Cleopatras. I define sexuality in regards to a woman's choice of expression, not the desires of the observer. It's important because a great deal of women simply want to feel and look confident and beautiful without trying to be overtly sexual. I believe we have some extremely fine lines these days as widespread wearing of yoga pants not for yoga would illustrate. There is not a red-blooded free-willed man alive who doesn't dream a bit when a sleek, curvy, shiny black bum just happens to be right there, surrounded by 25 other healthy shades of yoga, some oblivious to what there butt is doing to the men in line behind them at Tim's, and some not so oblivious. I love them all.
star trek taught me everything
Despite the early indiscretions of Captain James T. Kirk on many a galactic bird watching expedition, the Federation had prime directives about messing with the locals. When observing the inhabitants of distant worlds, incognito was the rule and breaking such could not just be upsetting for all but might just alter the whole damned time-space continuum thing. In the very least you had this equation: the act of observation will change the nature of the observed.
And we don't always want that. I rarely want that. I want to photograph wonderful children being children, not fighting for the camera's attention. When I shoot an event I shoot from distance and capture character moments – people interacting with people, not with me. And when a woman is simply magnificent in her confidence and ease flitting across the street, sometimes the least beneficial thing is to interrupt and ask to recreate what was already an awesome natural moment in time! Some things you just can't pose (especially in a downtown street) but sometimes you can be in the right place at the right time to capture life in all its beauty without changing it. In a photo-journalistic-environmental sense it's the equivalent of leaving nothing behind, not even a footprint, as we record nature being natural. I do believe Spock would appreciate the logic if not be personally moved by the gallery born of it.
If, and it's a big if, you actually find yourself here I hope first and foremost you notice how simply awesome you look. I also hope you're comfortable being revered but not objectified. Had I asked to take the photo the moment would have been lost (see above Prime Directive) so I took the shot! And there's no rationale lover of beauty for beauty's sake that will see you now and say, "That was a bad idea"! Please do contact me if you'd love to have a big version of you, or if you've lost your mind and want the photo to come down. I'll oblige either way because among other things, the gallery to follow is intended to delight, not offend.
Chris J. Vaughan Griffiths
updated aug 21, 2018