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The “Value Life as It Is” Manifesto

Life is beautiful in any of its manifestations: the cry of a newborn baby is beautiful; the falls of an infant who learns to walk are beautiful. The many failures we all experience in our path to success are also beautiful because they are an indispensable part of life, and without them, we would never come to where we are today. The wrinkles on an old woman’s face are charming. The fallen leaves and withered flowers possess allure as they demonstrate the inevitability of death and compel us to appreciate our lives. Let us praise the art that celebrates life as it is, with all its happiness and sadness, and finds beauty in unattractive but such real things as failures, withering senility, and death.

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I call for the revival of realism in poetry, literature, music, photography, and any other conceivable forms of art. The poetry that celebrates both youth and old age, sunrise and sunset, rise and decline are what we need to value life in all its diversity. The art that helps us reveal the patterns of life is what we desire to understand life in all its complexity and feel at ease in this vast world. We crave music that reflects our happiness and sorrows to accompany us in the best moments of our lives and help us overcome the pain during our darkest days.

I oppose the art that silences the unpleasant sides of life as if they were not worthy of artists’ attention. I rise against the art that shows outstanding persons in the heyday of their career and forgets about them once they decide to retire. I defy the art that covers only the happiness of motherhood, disregarding the hardships of bearing and raising a child. The photographers who see beauty only in obviously charming things, such as blossoming flowers or clear blue sky, and neglect the charm of ordinary life, bring little value to the world of art, from my point of view. I will not stand turning a blind eye to inevitable parts of life, such as death or a failure, just because they do not seem attractive. Life is multifaceted, and beauty can be found in all its aspects.

A good example illustrating my artistic values is a series of photographs I took to tell a visual story. In my photograph journal, I portrayed a life cycle of a flower, which started as a sprout and ended as a withered plant that lost all its petals (Valdes, “Module 9 Assignment”). This artwork traces the whole life of a flower and demonstrates that beauty can be found at each stage of life and not only when the plant is at its best. What is more important, this series of photographs reveals why art should pay attention to life in all its manifestations. Looking at different stages of plant development, I can parallel them with human life and gain an insight into how nature functions. For example, a photo of flowers starting to fade led me to think that “people tend to cling to life just like flowers,” but “one eventually leaves behind some close people” (Valdes, “Module 9 Assignment”). Thus, depicting life in all its diversity is necessary for people to understand and value their lives more.

Poetry also has the means of portraying life as it is. For example, Donald Hall’s poem, “The Baseball Players,” illustrates the issue of death and how it is intertwined with the everyday doings of the living (Valdes, “Module 7 Assignment”). In this poem, the author depicts an ordinary game of baseball, which is the first reason for valuing this artwork. Baseball is played all over the country and is a favorite game of many people, so artists are fully encouraged to pay attention to it in their works. However, the main feature of this poem is its plot twist since the poem ends with the mentioning of “the angel” and a boy who “died at fourteen” (Valdes, “Module 7 Assignment”). This poem is powerful because it made me realize that “there is death surrounding us in many moments” (Valdes, “Module 7 Assignment”). The author did not silence the issue of death but showed that it was an indispensable part of life, and it was closer to us than we might think.

Finally, photographs should pay attention to portraying people and events that could provide some insight to the viewers. I would like to mention a photograph of Babe Ruth, picturing this baseball player standing on the field for the last time in his career (Valdes, “Module 2 Assignment”). This photo is of concern for me not only because I am a fan of Babe Ruth and a baseball player but also because it shows the truth of life. First, it reveals a life pattern, which implies that “with dedication, passion, and commitment you can change the world” (Valdes, “Module 2 Assignment”). Second, it shows that, no matter how high one can climb over the course of one’s life, it cannot last forever. This is the truth of life that the art should portray: no good or bad thing lasts forever, and it is normal.

Life is both chaotic and organized, and art should convey this diversity of life in various art forms. I call for art that does not silence the unattractive side of life but accepts it and tries to find something beautiful and valuable in it. Such inevitable issues as death, oldness, and the fleeting nature of life deserve the attention of artists as much as love and happiness do.

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References

Valdes, Reiler. “Module 2 Assignment: Representative Work.” The World of Art. n.d. Web.

—. “Module 7 Assignment: Poetic License.” The World of Art. n.d. Web.

—. “Module 9 Assignment: Photographer’s Eye.” The World of Art. n.d. Web.

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