Friday, 13 January 2012

Beauty and the Beast

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Beauty and the Beast ~

Beauty and the Beast, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.
BONUS: For Street Photography Fans!

Beauty is often bombarded with brutishness, and Paris is no exception. Sitting side by side the classic Paris monuments and tourist traps is the other side of the city balancing this uneasy alliance. Beauty only has a place in a world where ugliness is permitted, otherwise it would have no meaning and cease to exist as a concept.

The same thing with good and bad. Black and white. Man and woman. Right and wrong. The one needs the other, without which survival would stop. In some cases the two sides are seen as being relatively equal or at least equally desirable. Black and white; men and women. In others one side is seen as the 'good' and the other the 'bad': love and hate; beauty and ugliness; white and black.

In my roamings around the city I've come to appreciate many of these pairings, and more often than not I don't consider one inherently 'better' than the other, much is relative and again, it's the contrast that gives the meaning to the difference: scruffy and pristine; modest and monumental; local and foreign; homeless and loaded; rainy and dry.

For me these constrasts are fundamental to the fabric of the city. Without them, the interest of the place would evaporate. Imagine a perfectly clean, graffiti-less, exclusively affluently populated, shiny, smily, polite and plentiful place. Even Disneyland can't live up to that model, and who'd want a place like that anyway?

We might think we do, but in the end, if we can't have things that not everyone has, where's the interest. We only judge the value of something in relation to its scarecity and novelty. As soon as everyone has one the companies will bring out a newer, shinier version so that we feel dissatisfied again.

I'm not even convinced we want a perfect world. I think we're all closet killers in the end, looking to exact some sort of terrible vengeance on imaginary enemies we've never actually merited making or meeting.

It's no coincidence that the video games world has now overtaken the cinema, and that a huge number of these games involve killing people and things in the most graphic, horrendous ways possible. Welcome to the beautiful world we live in. But if it ever gets too beautiful, don't worry: we're an incredibly intelligent species; we'll invent ugly new ones we can escape to when the living gets too easy.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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