Vanishing Beauty Index

Vanishing Beauty

Karl F. Stewart


All life forms are composed of many veils. And as the seasons evolve the veils of our allure gradually fade away leaving only traces of that which was. We vanish beneath the uncovering of our veils ...

There is a curious thought which comes to mind, life rests in the spaces of its existence. This notion of spaces wishes to suggest there are two extremes at play in life - the material and the ethereal. The tension between these two aspects creates the opening where we glimpse the essence of existence. It is within these cracks in our reality that we plunge into the abyss to search for a beauty which is more than just skin deep.

And beauty, as well as charm, has its veils which can become worn. They start to thin. Their luster lessens. Sometimes veils are remade. They are patched up. They are painted over. They are replaced. At other times there is no recourse to action. And it is these moments of seemingly no way out where we find parallels to those towns without apparent remedy, in economic difficulty and with and aging population, that have retreated within the remnants of their veil, peering out, waiting between the in and out of their existence.

These reflections are explored in the photographic images focused on Tournus, France, which can be seen as the embodiment of the small town in Europe whose surface beauty lingers but whose charm appears fated to wither. These are the towns outside the loop of the digital age but at the same time struggle to maintain their connection to a land they had cultivated for centuries. These are the towns of a once upon a time reality of beauty and charm in a phase of transition.

In this present moment of time where the spaces of our existence are frequently filled with Botox, plastic and bits and bytes, the photographic essay Vanishing Beauty is a poetic homage to the materially ethereal allure of those towns in transit within the ever changing landscape of Humanity as they slip into their abyss. It is a glimpse at the veils of grace that lay in the spaces of our existence.

Tournus, France
4 August 2017

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