Yes, I realize that photographing one’s bike borders on fetishism, but after having photographed my clothes and shoes for academichic for over a year and a half now, I’m ok with that. I like to think of it as finding beauty in unlikely places or simply appreciating the everyday. Seeking aesthetic pleasure in the minutia of my home allows me to appreciate my surroundings on multiple levels – I enjoy my bike, like so many of the accoutrements with which I surround myself, on both an aesthetic and a utilitarian level. While the former is no prerequisite for the latter, the two are by no means mutually exclusive. I find myself most satisfied when I can merge the two into a happy and harmonious union – form weds function.
One of my favorite readings on aesthetics is Crispin Sartwell’s Six Names of Beauty. Sartwell traces the concept of beauty through six different cultures, exploring how the English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Japanese, and Navajo word for ‘beauty’ influences and shapes that culture’s understanding of the thing it is describing. Being an amateur linguist and a cultural hybrid myself, I found this exploration of the culturally defined meaning of beauty to be fascinating, engaging, and written in a way that was easy to follow. I would definitely recommend it for the next time you’re throwing a book and a blanket on your bike and heading out to the park for some R & R.
What are some of your reading recommendations for this summer?