PreRamble: What is it about this photograph that is so compelling?
Taken by Francois Halard for a WSJ Magazine article on Victoire de Castellane, artistic director for fine jewelry at Christian Dior, the shot first appears to be mostly a “Still Life with Parrot and Jewels” kind of thing. But there’s something about it that invites further contemplation.
Maybe it’s the parrot. This is a fine specimen, setting the tone from within his birdness with a calm, attentive glare. He wears painterly variations in color and texture, shades of screaming green-on-green ending in delicate wisps that cover his wings and shoulders like a cloak.
Maybe it’s the jewels. De Castellane’s work incorporates what has been described as an “exuberant universe of Technicolor gems.” She rallies her talents around “rich, figurative storytelling jewels …. chunky settings encrusted with fruits and flowers and bows and bugs … all made out of precious gems.” These earrings are an exquisite riot of color and craftsmanship.
Maybe it’s the composition … The way the dominant diagonal lines of the bird and tail counterbalance the opposing diagonal created by a line that skips along the supporting branch, dangling jewels, and inter-space commanded by the copy block and butterfly … the connection of the red beak and matching butterfly suspended, or maybe flying, behind the bird … the soft shades of grey in the shadows on the wall.
Or, maybe it’s the sentiment in Victoire de Castellane’s quote that communicates the childlike joy and anticipation that she feels in doing her work … imagining what such a day-in-the-life would be … to bring the sparkles that you see in your mind to life every day?
The Take-Away: In a busy world, taking time to really see something that captures your attention — is a gift.