The other day, I asked a person for their email address. I wanted to give them updates and notices on my work. I asked them because they were interested in me and the images I produce. They tore off a piece of paper and began to write. I noticed how clear and disciplined their hand and commitment on it, and also commented on how straight was the line __ on this unlined scrap of paper__, and then it was handed to me. I thanked them and told them that I did not want to fold the paper; it was a simple work of art, and I was charmed.
I often read, in the world of today, that a hand written note or letter has far more value than a text message or an email. This became apparent here. It could be something treasured and kept for a long time in one’s collections of items that bring back wonderful thoughts of someone special in one’s life.
Thinking about what had impressed me so much about the hand written email address on this piece of paper, I came up with a few things that held my attention, and after deeper thought I realized it reminded me of my own work. What I mean is that the elements of my approach to a still life image I saw in their one line of script.
1) The black ink on the white paper; as I use high contrast of black & white, and some middle gray tones on a white background.
2) The straight line in their text resembles the straight line I often setup in my subjects.
3) The text written in the center of the scrap of paper, as I often place my subjects in that very location.
4) The continuous unbroken line, which is what I try to achieve to allow a smooth eye movement.
5) An elongated letter T & L, and in addition to a stylish @ sign, which __ at least in my mind __ all attributes to an elegant hand. That too is an accent I add in the arrangement of my subjects and their connection with each other; it is that flare in the composition.
All this reflection and insight from a simple quickly written email address on a small scrap of paper. I said thank you and good-by, and went on my way; taking with me a little of that person.
This is an image, and those like it, that comes to mind when I think of how the simple hand written email resembles my work or my approach the still life. There is of course the dark upon the white, the straight line orientation, centered, the continuous unbroken line and the accent of the split open seed pod.
Still, I do realize that much of the art works of the past, as well as that of the present, are works of very elaborate designs, compositions and forethought in placement and the interactions of subjects, but one has to also recognize that simplicity and the bare hint of elegance has a timelessness that can continue to bring joy and appreciation. Regardless of the subject, place, style or approach to the image, simplicity settles the mind and brings rest to the heart. I also realize that not all who view such images come to rest, and may even become bored, and ask, "Where is the value in that?"
I will close with this __ if Allah wills. We live in such a plastic world, in a throwaway society, at a fast pace, that in such an environment it is really difficult to find the real, to realize its value, and to appreciate its creators.
What have you found __ in a flea market, basement or attic of your departed parents, or a friend’s memento from a trip overseas __ that arrested your thoughts, calmed your soul and give you joy, even for just a brief moment? I am sure your expressed thoughts will remind others of their own moments of joy brought on by something so very simple. Tell us about it.