Atavistic Archetypes of Beauty

Denis Dutton holding an Acheulian hand axe
Denis Dutton holding an Acheulian hand axe. Photo by Steve Jurvetson

The photo isn’t merely beautiful, it’s about beauty. It comes from a talk by Denis Dutton at TED called A Darwinian theory of beauty. It’s chosen for the depth of field which puts the focus firmly on the handaxe and makes the presenter blur slightly in the background. The completely out-of-focus distant background is colourful, but serves to highlight the handaxe. It’s an imaginative way of having human interest in the shot without the human figure drawing attention away from the subject. Often putting a human in shot makes the photo about the person and not the artefact.

Photo: Atavistic Archetypes of Beauty by Steve Jurvetson. Licenced under a Creative Commons BY licence.