Tuesday, August 12, 2008

a military aesthetic

Consider this alstromeria
from my garden (left).

Now consider this photo
of the former center of that flower

How to transform these into an art form, other than that present in their natural state?

Enter one of my favorite principles of design: spare. A digression: in a military household (see Midshipman Price and his future bride, column right), efficiency and economy of motion were highly rewarded.

As well, evaluations were usually presented in a binary ( + or - ) fashion. Efficient use of time, material, energy was [ +good ] (approved), inefficient use of those was [ - good ] (not so approved). Consequences abounded.

And in the black/white world of a child's quest for approval, clutter was [ - good ], orderliness was [ + good ]. This led to a lifelong appreciation of Bach, Hemingway, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

What do they share? The aesthetics of spare -- an economy of sound, word, design -- the absence of clutter. Spare is [ + good ], approval-worthy.

To apply this binary evaluation to art, [ +spare ] is good;
[ - spare ] is, well, not so good.

And so we revisit the living and no longer living alstromerias from the two photos above. Apply the aesthetics of spare. What do you get?

and after some more playing with Photoshop:

I think these designs would pass muster with my dear departed parents.

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