Home > H. Bloggers & Blogging, Z. Reportage > Read on Red: The Pleasures and Perils of Pinterest

Read on Red: The Pleasures and Perils of Pinterest

File:Courtesan and a little girl agead a new-year decoration.jpg

Surely, in a parallel universe somewhere, RT is a top-drawer nature photographer who takes breaks to shoot amazing architecture in the big cities and work on creative book design projects. The eye is neighbor to the heart, at least in men.

These reflections are by way of saying that RT has been spending a lot of time on Pinterest, the photo-sharing web site that has attracted users all over the globe. (And for the record, this post was inspired by a pin of a red-on-red portrait that reminded RT of the sheer gorgeousness art is capable of.) Be that as it may, RT suspects he has been spending too much time on Pinterest. Gilgamesh and A Daughter’s Song and Dance both are patiently awaiting their latest round of corrections; Mechanical Turk and other crowdsourcing sites are ripe for further work and exploration; and, hey, what about taking a break and getting out in the beautiful, if brisk, autumn air? And, come to think of it, RT has gotten locked out of his Yahoo account because of some mix-up over his password. So why the tomfoolery with beautiful pictures?

RT is pretty sure that one of the reasons for Pinterest’s success is the lack of beauty in everyday life, or at least for most of us. Walking past a large box store the other day, one that had gravel strewn in front of its nondescript exterior in lieu of a lawn, RT was forcefully reminded of how ugly public life has become. Convenient, serviceable, yes. But beautiful? Almost never.

In a world starved for beauty, Pinterest is an oasis devoted to pleasing the eye. No cruddy compromises here, just the best photographs by talented photographers, famous or not. Not to mention great historical photographs. And if you are a WP blogger, the site is a treasure trove of ideas for new posts. Plus you can pin images from your blog (something that RT needs to catch up on). So what’s the problem?

RT wouldn’t say that Pinterest offers eye-candy (though some of that is to be found on the site). What worries RT is that Pinterest has very little to do with the day-to-day or ordinary; there is always something special about the subject. One of the ways that art contributes to our life, and perhaps the main way it helps us, is by finding beauty in the ordinary, or even in the apparently ugly. Graffiti,  the faded and peeling side of an old house, a familiar skyline made arresting by being captured from an unusual angle–all these things help us see the intrinsic beauty of the world. And if the artwork is spontaneous, a discovery made on the spot, then so much the better. We can all hope to experience something similar in our routine.

Pinterest of course contains such visual material, but in RT’s experience, not enough of it. Maybe each member should be required to submit a certain number of images that he or she has made. It might help reintroduce each of us to ourselves. (And maybe RT should be pinning more images that meet his standards.)

We search for meaning in the ordinary; perhaps we should be searching for beauty, too. Dare we rediscover the poetry of the world our eyes and minds shut out?

(& what about that latest round of corrections?)

RT

Print: Courtesan and Little Girl; Hiroshige. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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  1. November 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Haiku vision -a certain attention to detail, a quirky eye, a childish failure to judge…

    • November 15, 2013 at 12:07 am

      shl: my haiku machine is broken just now; will respond with a haiku presently… RT

  2. November 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    it’s rare that you find a genuine reflection on the purpose of Pinterest. Enjoyed reading this post!

    • November 15, 2013 at 12:04 am

      lv: thanks for the comment; encouragement always helps… RT

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