I have embarked on a quest to understand and then describe what I feel is beautiful in what I have created, and I found that quest challenging.  Man has tried to nail down “What is Beauty” since ancient times, and there has always been a counterargument or exceptions.  On one level, beauty is interpreted differently from culture to culture or from era to era.  On a deeper level, Beauty can be discussed as part of the Trinity of Virtues (Beauty, Truth, and Goodness).  Lastly, we can use the aphorism from author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” which isn’t much more help to me than Chief Justice Potter Stewart’s test for pornography: “I know it when I see it.”
Rather than coming up with a definition that fits society, I have decided to come up with a statement of what beauty is for me in my work and use that as my personal test of validation as I look back on the image that I have thus labeled.  The statement follows:
Beauty must be experienced to be realized.  For example, a scene of nature may be beautiful, but a photograph of that same scene might not be Beautiful.  On the other hand, the natural scene may be pretty (not necessarily beautiful in the moment), but the photograph of the scene might be Beautiful.  Another example is a portrait of a child who may be beautiful while the child is average.  Conversely, the portrait may be mundane, but the child in front of you may be beautiful.
It is said that beauty cannot be created; it is only realized.  At this point, I am differentiating “Beauty” and “beauty.”  Therefore, I cannot put together a group of elements into a photograph and be sure of creating Beauty.  The one constant that is critical is “authenticity.”
Beauty in my life is the result of (1) having found or discovered something during my life’s journey and (2) the emotion created by this finding.  I then need to bring out something in the finished photo that will be a new way of looking or understanding that experience.
Technically, a few things create a sense of beauty for me, including symmetry, harmony, proportion, curves, softness, and elegance.  More important is the need for a presence, a radiance, or an essence that I perceive.  Lastly, there needs to elicit an emotion in me.
Not every emotion, every curve, nor every experience will give me a sense of Beauty, but as I try to verbalize what I think is beautiful in what I produce, these are important clues.
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