IMO there is an incredible hardwired programming of what we see as beautiful, but the hardwiring is only the start. Our instinctual impressions of beauty are plugged into procreation and sustaining the species. This animal foundation steers us in a general direction. Next there are the societal views of beauty. These are present at the tribal and sub-tribal levels. While the fads of the day / decade prevail, there is still quiet homage paid to procreation and tribal continuance. Still looking at the physical, people have their personal predilections. These are the things that “turn them on” when it comes to physical beauty. They can be as varied as color (physical features, clothes), inclusion of garments (hats, heels), body types and feature shapes. Beauty springs from many levels when it comes to the physical.
As a photographer I admit that I pay attention to all of these levels of physical beauty. I can also admit that there are other forms of beauty that appear in my photographs. A person’s grace, their fluidity and ease of motion, are appealing in photographs. Their personality speaks loudly through facial and body gestures. A smile or proximity to others strongly hints at their love of life and of their fellows. The most beautiful human photographs dive deep below the surface physical beauty, but at the same time, they leverage the physical in these other expressions of beauty.
I really enjoy dance photography because I get to work with some of the most beautiful people I’ve had the honor to meet. The surface physical speaks loudly, but look closely at my photos and you see a broad expression of beauty that I very much enjoy sharing.