Art and Nature

Signatures of Time and Nature's Forces

26 Jan 2024

Copyright © 1993- Ganesh H. Shankar

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I just returned from a fruitful photography trip to the Kutch region in the Gujarat state of India. My focus mainly was to make some images of sedimentary and volcanic rock formations found at various locations within the large district of Kutch. It was an eye opening experience. Nature offered (as always) more than what I could chew. Here are some images which depict how time and forces of Nature have sculpted these unimaginable work of art, often very intricate too. I have split these images into 3 pages for now since it takes lots of time for your browser to load these images. Before I share these images, a short preamble to this series of images.

Is 'beauty' is in the eye of a beholder? Probably only partially true. Let us assume if sixty people out of hundred think an object in Nature is 'beautiful' (in their own way) then that object is 'beautiful' (whatever that means). I think it is possible and fair.

If there is a generality in the concept of 'beauty' then what is its source? I am sure Nature (or forces of Nature) would not distinguish between a human, an elephant and a virus. We probably know the concept of 'beauty' transcends a human species. A peahen selects a most 'beautiful' peacock to continue its progeny and so are other life forms in Nature.

While the intricate curves, circular and spherical patterns has its roots in gravitational force of Nature, while chemistry/physics can explain sources of all those beautiful colors and patterns on the rocks, the end product of all this leaves us in awe inspiring feeling of 'beauty'.

Did then Nature condition our sense of aesthetics to what it has designed? However we also have a word called 'ugly' in our dictionary! How do we build a bridge between laws of Nature to our abstract perception of what we call 'beauty'?

While I have seen many forms and shapes of beautiful boulders, like boulders of Hampi, the sculptures carved by Nature in Kutch are very special. Probably salinity and chemical reactions along with flow of wind and water over millions of years has created very intricate designs on these stones. We see very minute carving on stones having dimension of a few centimeters of length and width if not less. This has created mindbogglingly beautiful work of art!

While many things here look similar other objects that we can readily relate to, for example, shapes resembling footstep, eyes, nose, tortoise, carved statues etc., for me the real beauty is wondering about fundamental connection between forces of Nature and the concept of beauty itself. Nature did not create these forms and shapes for humans alone. I enjoy this abstract beauty as much as I enjoy the physical visual beauty of all these I photographed.

Why think about all these philosophy? Why can't I just enjoy the external physical beauty and move on to the next 'beautiful' image? I honestly think I would miss an opportunity to ponder over the larger beauty of the Nature. More assuring is this quote:

"One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought." - Albert Einstein

[NOTE: Chrome as a browser does not seem to honor the color profile accurately. You will miss lots of its beauty if you are using Chrome. You may consider Safari/Firefox instead]


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