Below is the first from a series of interviews on the personal meaning of ‘Beauty’, which appeared in the King’s Review, Cambridge. Originally published by Gilded Birds, a website devoted to the aesthetics of beauty and curated by Kerry Shaw. (www.gildedbirds.net).
Jane Haynes, psychotherapist and author on her husband’s photograph, ‘Dog and Grass’.
Gilded Birds: You’ve chosen a photograph of your dog. So is the beauty sentimental? Would you find this picture beautiful without any personal experience of this dog or this grass?
Jane Haynes: I have no interest in the sentimental and regard it as a vice. The reason I have chosen this image is because it represents a random moment of phenomenon I regard to be beautiful. The grass is not my grass. How could it be, and although the dog is ‘my’ dog, she does not ‘belong’ to me. My husband’s image captures a reflection of an autumnal dog of perfect proportions in declining grass. In this picture the grass matters as much as the dog. It also reminds me of Dürer’s ‘Clod of Earth’. Snakes lurk in grass but so do daisies (which once upon a time I wove into endless chains of love), buttercups, sexy-milked dandelions and minute orchids with beautiful names: green winged orchid, the lesser butterfly orchid, the bee orchid. I should add that the dog is a Magyar Vizsla and I regard the breed whose eyes and nails are polished autumn amber as ‘living art’.