Do we need beauty? Before I answer that, what is beauty? I have gotten myself in more trouble with a sincere compliment of "that is beautiful!", only to have a fight on my hands. Was there an implied insinuation that I meant the opposite and was poking fun? Was there an ulterior motive? Was I just crazy to think of my subject as beautiful--anchovy pizza? Do we think beauty or feel it? Do we need make up, the perfect hair, teeth, and clothing?
Science has a literal definition-- but I go more with the feeling idea. I experience beauty when I am drawn to something that makes me feel. It produces a feeling in me that was not there a moment before. The experience demands the compliment. It can be symmetry in a face, photo, or room design. It can be an arrangement of musical notes that draws my soul into another place. It can be lights and shadows in an image that leads the viewer to the subject. It can be the tenacity of a person learning a task as they try and try again. It can be the spouse, smiling as they look at the person they married all those years ago. But I am moved by beauty and yes, I think we need beauty.
At least for me, being moved by beauty can be small things--the dawn of a new day, the smile I get when I walk by someone, or the moment of quiet when you relax into your thoughts. As a photographer, it can be the unique image I can only get from you, at that perfect moment, with that perfect expression, with your face. Now, if we are casting a commercial or stage production, we might need the perfect (_______), to fill the role of beautiful. But, we do need beauty in our lives to make them rich. And the beauty you provide may be in the work you do to power your family or the way you make someone feel with your perfect, beautiful, quirky, smiling you.