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Beyond descriptive capture

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

What would you find more interesting, a journal that is just a descriptive account of what a person did everyday or one where you really get a sense of what the experiences meant to the person that wrote it and in which you are carried along on their personal journey? Even if the writer has some really interesting experiences to describe, I find I’ll skip over most of the descriptive details the second time and just hone in on those bits where you really get an understanding of what was going on in their mind.

I guess that’s why in art, it’s a much better approach to pick out the bits that mean something to you to include in a painting than to just depict everything the way the camera sees.

The arts are a way of connecting with other people, a window into another person’s mind. Insights into human perspectives on the world as we know it today are equally as interesting to us as the changes in human perspective over time captured by art history. In evolutionary terms, it was an advantage to have this sense of communion with other humans; we naturally want to know about the inner experience of other people and understand the complex mental world that is common to human beings.

When we look at a child’s drawing, we appreciate more an insight into how the world looks from their perspective than true accuracy in what they are depicting.

We like authenticity, we like to know where we stand. We can never be fully comfortable with that 'friend' who never quite tells the whole truth. And we may not see eye-to-eye with that person who is so outwardly themselves, but at least we know who they are, and therefore we don't feel unsafe with them.

For all the multitude of methods we have at our disposal to distract and entertain ourselves, there is nothing that lifts our spirits in the same way as experiencing a human connection.

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