We Can Be Heroes


On the recommendation of a good friend, I'm reading Dataclysm, a book that examines the predictive and descriptive value of aggregated individual personal online data for human nature more generally. In the introduction, author Christian Rudder notes that heretofore our history has been told in terms of the lives of larger than life characters and heroes. In a past where the means of recording history (clay tablets, paper, newsprint, celluloid, etc.) has had clearly limited practical capacity, stories of the Everyman have been pushed aside in favor of the grander tale. Today, however, technology allows for greater depth and less limits. Per Rudder: "there's room for more than just the heroes." In sharing my boat hull photos, I've tended toward a focus on the showstoppers, the images with some striking combination of distinct structure, remarkable color, and/or unique texture -- these are the 'heroes.' Having scoured marinas over the last few years, I've photographed hundreds and likely well over a thousand boats. They're not all heroes, but often there's a simple beauty that may not be evident at a first quick glance. I just finished reading The Value Of Art by international art dealer and market expert Michael Findlay. One of the key messages of the book is to simply take time to look at and take in a work of art, rather than being distracted by the factual information of an identifying tag on a gallery wall or the ceaseless stream of information from museum audio guides. Instead, he exhorts museum goers to simply look, but look for longer than the fleeting moment or 10 seconds (or less) that we might if we allow the electronic guides or even the surrounding crowd to establish our pace. It is this longer or even repeated look that allows us to realize the details and the subtleties of works, and which may alter greatly how we feel about a piece. It is this longer look that may allow us to appreciate the understated beauty of the non-heroes and allow a piece to more naturally resonate with us, free from inadvertent prejudices. There's certainly room for more than just the 'heroes' here. Above I've featured an appropriately untitled piece. This Everyman hull is from a small skiff lying in the marina; not one of the larger, named vessels.

Take a look.

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