Thursday, December 21, 2017

Giving Pictures

When my friend Jordan sent me this picture, it was a gift of imagery that now lives in my head, laced with interconnections from “Angry Kitten” and the tilt of a certain mood I was feeling at the time. 
I appreciated the resonance that connected me and the stone, easily as memorable as a physical gift.

I like sending favorite pictures I’ve discovered, on-line or in magazines, as birthday greetings. Recently I was particularly gratified when my 3-year-old grand-niece Rhian wanted this picture I’d sent of a David Czerny sculpture printed out for her room. It feels good to hit an image that resonates and I feel like I know her better.

From a chuckle or a smile to a nod of understanding, the range of connections offered to another in the form of pictures is endless. It signifies appreciation, one specific individual to another. To hunt through the world of art and nature for the right picture to send someone stretches out to another’s uniqueness, not cluttering the world with more objects while still offering the thought that went into the choosing. Not limited to the world of manufactured things and their sameness a picture can be more complex in its ability to trigger thoughts and ideas that arise from the feeling of the picture. This is the one I send the most because I can’t look at it without smiling, feeling their pleasure.

In a culture that sends so many pictures this could be an antidote to the narcissism spawned by having the self as most easily available subject. To actively look and choose is revelatory in a variety of ways. I’m always on the lookout for images that make me smile and keep them in a folder of favorites to draw on when the occasion turns up. The surprises of illusionistic humor abound in public art so I have a treasure of murals and sculpture that have been documented. The unexpected stimulates dopamine and pulls attention away from the self. I also save pictures that touch me in some way, particularly if they pull me across species boundaries.

It’s never been easier to send pictures and there are sources of amazement and wonder at sites like or any image search on a subject that inspires curiosity. Choosing pictures for your personal library shows you more about who you are inside as you follow your preferences deeper and see what they bring to mind. It’s way to develop visual sensitivity letting the sense of beauty provide guidance.

Finding pictures that show more of what matters is pleasurable enrichment. The more you look, the more you are able to see.
Happy Solstice.

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