"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."
I was very fortunate to have worked as a photography assistant to John Diamond, M.D. for over five years. Amongst many things, he gave me a unique immersion in photography, not just the technical aspects of pre, process, and post-production, but above all developing a feeling for photography and a way of seeing. This very much included an ever-evolving philosophy and approach to photography that has the potential to enhance the quality of your own life, and others. A philosophy, that I try to pass onto my own students, and when photographing myself.
He taught me the immeasurable value in seeing "beyond the obvious" to the "little things, the little things like a blade of grass." This philosophy pays homage to Confucius's teachings that can inspire us to search for the inherent beauty in everything, even a little piece of rust, or a bit of peeling paint. For as Confucius says, "everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." So it the photographer's lesson, or job I suppose, to see the beauty in the things that often pass us by, and make that beauty more obvious to the later viewers.
This teaching, is something that extends beyond photography, and that I try to remind myself of especially when I am working with people. I try to ask myself, and am certainly not always successful, am I really seeing their inherent beauty, their good nature, their humanity, their benevolence, or whatever word you may like to use? We are all basically good, we just sometimes need reminding of it for ourselves and others, as it is not always so obvious or overtly expressed, and more difficult to really feel when we argue or are having difficulty with others, or are seeing first-hand the inhumane treatment of others. If I am having difficulty with someone I ask myself this, and try to find ways in which I can see their good nature and the ways they express it, most often and most easily as it happens, when we are being creative in some way; this is the power creativity can potentially hold, to remind us of our own and others humanity.