What is elegance?  Elegance is based on a ratio between functionality and simplicity, but is also based on aesthetics often times.  Larry Wall, the creator of the programming language Perl, defines the virtues of the programmer as:

Laziness: The quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful, and document what you wrote so you don’t have to answer so many questions about it. Hence, the first great virtue of a programmer.

Impatience: The anger you feel when the computer is being lazy. This makes you write programs that don’t just react to your needs, but actually anticipate them. Or at least pretend to. Hence, the second great virtue of a programmer.

Hubris: Excessive pride, the sort of thing Zeus zaps you for. Also the quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won’t want to say bad things about. Hence, the third great virtue of a programmer.

If the programmer is successful, then the programmer maintains and creates elegance within their work.  Does this not apply to every field?  Laziness creates something simple, yet highly functional.  Impatience creates a hunger to make it work the first time.  Hubris makes it so that you have pride in what you do.

This definition fits with one of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition of Elegance: “scientific precision, neatness, and simplicity.”

If I am to be honest to this theme, I must display the virtues of laziness, impatience, and hubris.

These pieces are not in chronological order.


This really has no inspiration.  It was almost purely an experiment.  That ethereal wave is my hand.  Does this fit with elegance.  Yes.  It has a certain mystery that does have a sort of scientific, experimental, yet simplistic scheme to it.  What the aim of elegance in a photo would be is to have as much elegance in the different facets of itself.  The experimental, yet simple nature of what is happening in the shot is a sort of elegance.  The way it works to confuse yet urge is elegance of aesthetics.


This piece was created before the previous piece.

This depicts fingers walking, with a slow shutter speed showing motion blur.  This makes the eye wish to understand.  Where are the fingers going?  Although not functional in the traditional sense, it is aesthetically elegant because it functions to lead the mind into interesting mystery.

Somewhat consciously this was inspired in part by the album art of Camel’s Rain Dances (http://thumbs2.picclick.com/d/l400/pict/380738221353_/Camel-Rain-dances-remastered-expanded-CD.jpg)


This has a narrow depth-of-field.

This stem used to have leaves, ones ordered in some number of the Fibonacci Sequence, the most efficient way.  It would appear that, thus, the stem has lost elegance.  It has not!  It has only morphed to be more efficient during the cold winter.  Nature is more elegant than unnatural human structures because nature is literally based on the most accessible answer to a need.  This need is captured, and displayed in an elegant way in this piece.


Although quite similar to the previous piece, this piece utilized flash to get a more illuminated effect.  The stem has finer-looking details in this iteration.  It displays elegance in a quite different way, all by having a few minutely different shadings.  It delves deeper into the branches details, literally illuminating them.


This day seems like a rather dreary day.  But it does have beauty.  A hidden beauty.  Look at the clouds, cascading between each other, eventually into a cadence.  The clouds let in sun in spots with very little detail to see, adding shreds of mystery, further enlightening what was a drab day.  Even though the spot in the upper left corner is overblown, and thus has no detail, it has an effect.  This effect, mystery, almost makes it look as if something is descending from the heavens.  The elegance is in what is hidden in plain sight, and what cannot be seen, but only theorized of.

This uses a wide depth-of field (around F4.0).


Yet again we see a certain beauty in snow and the fields and the sky and the mountains.

This also uses a large depth-of field.


As does this.

We also see a road, leading to no where, except the sunset.


Running water,

Cascading down,

Silently causes actions,


The faucet of the sink is fascinating, not boring.  If elegance is in simplicity and the level of functionality, then the sink has functional elegance.  But does the sink have visual elegance.  Not unless one looks deeper.  Once one meditates on the structures of imagery within larger structures, fascinating nuances can be found.  As such, the sink can be said to have a certain hidden elegance, and the water that flows beneath it has even more mystery.

One yet to be unlocked.

The slow motion is due to the slow shutter speed of the camera shutter.


This is the most elegant of these pieces.  Although it was simple to take, and thus not highly ornamented, it has a sort of unmatched beauty.  Reminiscent of the cover art to Pink Floyd’s The Endless River (http://i.imgur.com/E4SUYOz.jpg), this photo of the Spokane River (near the Coeur d’Alene River) captures the elegance of Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho and acts as a microcosm for the elegance of the whole world.  It has functional beauty and elegance by providing a means of recreation and a means of transportation, but it has even more aesthetic beauty.

Most of these pieces were not inspired by any one thing.  I was partially inspired by this Stack Exchange user’s post here: http://photo.stackexchange.com/a/47048, and later this post from another user: http://photo.stackexchange.com/a/12441.


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