There is a question that has rattled around in my head for so long I can't really remember not thinking about it, at least not in my adult years. What makes us, humans, wish to possess so much of the time the things that we find beautiful. We pick or buy flowers, we buy music that moves us, we "take" photos of sunsets or brown bears on the side of the road knowing full well that those pictures will present themselves as being nothing like the intensity of the real thing. We pick up pine cones, stones, shells, and store them on shelves, so far out of their element that they loose much of the intoxication that gripped us before (the clear exception to this is of course those who do remember the place that breathed soul into the object and are able to see that, photograph that, paint that, write about that, once it is removed).
I think this tendency to want to possess is one of the reasons that Flickr is so popular amongst the visually inclined. On Flickr you can favorite other people's photographs, like you would add a web page's link to your favorite links list. In this way you are not copying someone else's work, thereby violating copyright law and ethics, but still, somehow, owning it in that you can go and see it amongst all the other pretty photos you have collected there. It's like marking the best paintings in the Louvre's visitor's guide and then being allowed to enter anytime you want, alone, and be nearly instantaneously transported to the work of your whim. (I know this is why I love Flickr so much. Well, that and the fact that it's basically a free art show at anytime I have a spare moment... Oh and the meeting of minds there is astounding... And the support and learning amongst like minded & different minded folks. Oh don't get me started)
I'm sure this tendency is strongest amongst those of us who are deeply in touch with our own sense of creativity (we all have that sense, it's just easier to access for some us than others and that has everything to do with our belief about creativity and how we were taught to embrace or deny it as children... IMHO) but we all want that beauty around us. Some of us may mistake brand, or price tags with beauty... but beauty is what we are searching for, I'm convinced.
But why? How does beauty serve us as a species? That's really the question I go back to whenever I wonder about us humans. If "A" is true about humans then "A" must benefit us in a very biological sense, somehow. But, in this case, it doesn't really seem to fit.
Beauty makes our hearts, our souls, soar to heights greater than our bodies or technology can take us. For the life of me I can't understand how such a thing contributes to our survival, our propagation of the species.
This all popped to mind again tonight when I stumbled onto these photographs and thought "Oh gawd, I can't favorite them! What am I going to do, just look at them and move on? No, I can't! I must have them!"