Maybe the answer is distance. Of course the answer depends on the question, and I haven’t asked the question yet. I will in a minute. But context first, question second, then answer third. That’s a lot of sequencing for a three paragraph blog post!
Anyway, context. The context is appreciation of beauty. Not attractive-people beauty, that’s too culturally fraught for three paragraphs. Just beauty out there in the world. I like the idea of appreciating beauty-in-the-world. (There isn’t as much as I would like, which is why my New Arcadia project will spend lots of time chiseling marble urns). But lots of places aren’t exactly beautiful, to say the least. And yet.
I often think a good photography assignment would be to confine yourself to a drab, uninspiring spot and see what you could find to photograph that is beautiful. My guess is you’d find something somewhere, if you kept looking at different angles or just got close enough to something. A graceful crack or pebble. A colorful little bug. We won’t even get into microscope-world. Or go the other way to big-overview satellite world. But if you zoom in or zoom out of a situation, you can find something nice, and unexpected. And beautiful. Photograph that. Just don’t turn it into a selfie.