What is it about art, photography, and to some extent music that makes it so enticing? Why do we like to look at pretty things? Why do we seek it out and pay tons of money for images?
If I was to answer that I would have to say that I am an escapist. The reason I collect and create so many images is that I like to look back at them and put myself in that space and that time.
Images create an imaginary world where I can fill in blanks and put myself there. They can transport me back to a time that my mind can idealize. They can put me in a place where I have never been but want to be.
It isn’t just art, it’s imagery in general. I love historic pictures as well for many of the same reasons. Even other people’s vacation photos aren’t immune to my idealization.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I imagine many if not most people are like me if they examined their reasons for appreciating art.
Is it wrong?
I don’t think so. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with imagining ourselves in other places and times. If it were we should avoid fiction books and movies altogether. We utilize things like art and books and movies to make us happy, teach us life lessons, and to make life that much better.
But can it be wrong?
Yes, if we are consumed by our imagination. If we obsess over images and the worlds they place us in they can become an addiction. Those places will seek to usurp reality and rob us of contentment. They will become idols and push us away from God.
Anything enjoyable can become destructive if overindulged, art included. That is why we must be careful to balance the beauty of fantasy with the often ugly reality.
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