Art's Dissertation

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Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder or Is It in the Photographer's Eye?

Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder or Is It in the Photographer's Eye?

Literature Review

Overview of Beauty from Art's Perspective

Beauty is a concept that is generally talked about in the broader perspective of aesthetics. Greek philosophers were the ones who put forward the concept of beauty and theories, related to it, for the first time (Crimp 2000, p.92). Plato proposed the argument that beauty is a natural thing that does not depend upon elements such as time and space. According to him, beauty relies on regularity, simplicity and unity, and possesses metaphysical properties of symmetry, proportion and harmony. According to Kant (1987), beauty is taken into perspective in two forms: beauty that is dependent and beauty that is free.

Dependent beauty is the one that is judged on the basis of predetermined concepts. On the other hand, free beauty is the one that is judged with preconceived idea. Beauty does not rely on a definite form; rather its power is present in its quality (Crimp 2000, p.92). The concept of beauty should surely be considered as never ending, however its measurement and understanding has changed during the transition from the traditional idea to the current one. According to Crimp (2000), the ideas about beauty and artistic material are no longer same in the present social constructionist view. Presently, art is considered as dependent upon the material, historical world (Crimp 2000, p.92).

The advent of photography has added a new dimension in the concept and understanding of beauty. Many of the historical artists and art followers believe that photography has damaged the understanding of beauty from art's point of view. According to Benjamin (1999), the modern age has resulted in losing the power of art. Benjamin (1999) further considered the photography of popular French photographer Eugene Atget to show how photography has resulted in liberation of the object from the aura.

However, Benjamin considers this as beneficial for people because it has enabled to move from a magical to a critical awareness that can result in an additional and rational understanding of the world. According to Lyotard (2001), modernity has changed the relation between beauty and art. He further believed that in the present scenario, there is no continuity in the ethical, cognitive and political discourses. In the view of Lyotard (2001), now people are more interested in “what can be considered as art” rather than “what is beautiful”.

Approach of the Study

From art's perspective, beauty is considered differently from different people. Traditionally, beauty has relied on the eye of the beholder to be considered as superior, valuable, attractive and so on. It is not only related to human beauty, but it used frequently to cover other traits as well such as behaviours, character and inanimate substances. We have heard for centuries that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But this concept seems to be changing with the introduction of modern photography and fashion ...
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