Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beauty and the Beholder

I found this amongst the drafts of posts I wrote while touring France this summer.

I never did finish it - I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted that depict the true shabbiness you can find there at every turn.... but the photos below have a little of it...

So as we drove and saw a little of this

and a little of that
patchy grass, empty flower pots, old buildings that were long past their prime,

I found myself wondering…,

How do we decide how we feel about what we see?

How do we decide what is charming,

and what is rundown?

Is it context?

Are we more forgiving in our judgments if a building is 200 years old? Does that it wasn't built to our modern specifications or sensibilities make us enjoy it more; perhaps it's the quirkiness of it that draws both eye and heart?

Or is it geography? Do we have an expectation of finding rust and chippy perfection in the shutters and doors in France and so when we do, they are as they should be?  What we hoped for?

Would we like them as much if they were around every corner in our own hometown?

And then I wondered how ownership might affect that...

Would I like this crumbling, faded, rambling house with it's mossy covered pots carelessly discarded next to the climbing rose, covered with faded blooms  - would I like it as much if it was my yard?

Or would I feel an urge to grab my pruning shears and start trimming back the parts that are past their prime, and leave behind only what was green and fresh, poised to bloom?

Would a tiny, cluttered balcony perched in an odd alcove, high above the ground, lure me to linger if it was attached to my own home? Or would I feel an insatiable need to tidy it?

I never did figure out the answers to this multiple choice question...

perhaps it's all of the above


Appleshoe said...

hmm. I like this question. Personally I like all of these things; even the patchy grass. I love the feeling of time and age and view something that is tattered as well loved. My gardens I let over grow (weeded but over grown) because I love the earthy, wild and natural feel to them. My husband is the opposite in these things. It would be a matter of personal preference. For me, I'll take the rust, moss, chips, and cracks. They are what bring character, history and life into these objects. Take care.

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Dear Jillayne:
I got all swoony looking at each of your images. ;-) They're all the beautiful things I love about old architecture, and I'd not only love to have them in my neighborhood, but I'd love to live in something like this - perhaps with a matching barn on the property! Thanks for giving me something to dream on, my friend.

Dorthe said...

Dear Jillayne,
Yest ,That`s the question...
I would so love to live in such an old and beautiful house- but I must admit, that it would be considered if I had money to live there- Old beauty costs much money- if it should not be rundown...

Suztats said...

Ah, I believe the allure is in the unknown, and unusual, of items not in our everyday. We can romanticize, and fantasize, and enjoy the beauty of the unexpected and the unique.
Loved your pics with their sense of history, yet pastoral feeling.

Susan said...

While in France, walking among all of the old beautiful buildings, it reminds me of going through a small town in the states where all of the old buildings are vacant and one day will be torn down. My trips to France always remind me there is still beauty in the old. Thank you for sharing.

Marj Talbot said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure. There is much beauty and character in mature buildings and surroundings vs the cold and uninviting of some of the more "modern" versions.
I agree however, to prune and tidy. hee hee Thanks for sharing.

Tina Eudora said...

Really beautiful photos Jillayne, some of the views remind me so much of Old Montreal, I guess it would be the French influence!
Have a wonderful and very creative day!
Tina xo

Anonymous said...

Jillayne, excellent questions. For me, I think for something to make me feel comfortable around shabbiness, it would have to also be clean. There are many shabby homes that are welcoming and warm that I could live in. I think I like that better than brand new and contemporary. Otherwise, I guess I wouldn't collect shabby things with which to surround myself. Right now, however, my shabbies have a coating of DUST on them! lol It adds to the theme. ;-)

Hugs, Diane

Createology said...

You have pondered some interesting questions. I don't think I know the answers. Sometimes I love old and chippy and forlorn yet sometimes I do not like disheveled or neglected or trashed. It truly is in the eye of the beholder. I know I do give more credence to "charm" if it is in Europe where history is real. I have enjoyed your photos and your thought provoking post. Wonderful weekend to you dear...

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Jillayne,

Great question and yes, I think that everywhere you look in France, is beautiful. Even the older, the better.
I enjoyed seeing your lovely photographs.

Have a great weekend

Becky Shander said...

To me, authenticity is beautiful...wherever you happen to see it. And you've certainly captured this beauty in your photos.