This question has been asked for eons. One of the most accepted answers for what we deem beautiful is a scientific or evolutionary one. We are attracted to certain people, especially faces, that seem, well, normal, i.e., symmetrical and free of abnormalities. The simple reason? To survive as a species, we seek indicators of health in our mates. The thinking is if our mates look healthy then they ARE healthy. And this would mean our offspring would be too.
Of course cultural norms play role too. And our feelings about people can affect our perception of their beauty. But so much of our instinctual reaction to people has a lot to do with the ingrained need to procreate.
But photographer Rick Guidotti is flipping our beauty definitions on their head. Based on this CNN story, Guidotti, a man who used to snap shots of high fashion and beauty icons, was inspired by a girl with albinism that he saw at a bus stop. While most of would probably NOT consider her beautiful, he did. At that moment he decided to totally change his career. He left his glam world and dedicated himself to understanding, embracing and capturing physical, genetic differences. Guidotti recently launched his documentary “On Beauty” which shares the many beautiful faces with such differences e.g., birth marks and albinism.
No question, the open-mindedness of this project offers a wonderful perspective for society. Who is to say what is beauty? Can’t we all be beautiful?
But can our hard-wiring change? Can we believe deep down that these physical differences can be a thing of beauty vs a sign of health concerns?
If you take a step back, however, so many of us hook up with our mates, DESPITE, their health risks. Someone may carry a recessive gene for Tay Sachs or she may marry into a family with a history of depression. Do we ignore these concerns, of course not. But the beauty we find in one another helps us overcome these concerns and find a way to thrive.
So Guidotti isn’t celebrating something that defies nature. Just the opposite. He’s showcasing something that’s also quite primal: the instinct to empathize, cherish and love others…no matter what. So maybe we ARE hard-wired to love ALL sorts of beauty!