Innocence. It’s delicate. Out of focus. Beautiful.
Lichens are made up of two types of life forms: a symbiotic organism (fungus) plus a photosynthetic partner (green alga or cyanobacterium). The fungus part gets its nutrients from the air and rain, the photosynthetic one makes its own food with the sun’s help. Lichens have been used in making dyes and perfumes, as well as traditional medicines.
In the presence of environmental toxins, lichens perish, but when the air is clean, they thrive. So, their prevalence in the area was very good news. I took deep breaths and snapped my photos.
There has been a long-standing debate as to whether or not we should attribute human characteristics to animals. It’s called anthropomorphism. Many scientists, such as Pavlov, saw it as a lack of objectivity. Others, like Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall, attributed all sorts of emotions to their subjects. Of course, they were studying gorillas and chimpanzees, the closest living relatives to humans. Frans de Waal wrote, “To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us.”
From an artistic viewpoint, I find it very helpful to attribute human emotions to my animal portraits. I’m in good company. Aesop did it in his fables. As did Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Walt Disney Company.
As for the giraffe, which human emotion do you see in this portrait?
What’s next? NO SINGING . . . on the shower curtain? We should ban all signs that deny us life’s pleasures.