In our search for beauty, we are distracted from the prize.
That, Tom, depends!
In this case, looking at the entire picture I see beauty in the involvement of the child. But it exists to in the sensual photograph To her right.
Only when we have no knowledge of the concept is there a reward, an envy, a connection with the truth.
What concept? Of the design/build/content of the camera's view? Or else, perhaps what was in the mind that formed the "intent" of the photographer. I would proffer that there is no "truth", just reactive feelings and subjective interpretations, some of which others share and so "resonate" and seem to coincide with some "truth" of the matter.
Beauty is not the truth. Beauty is less than reality.
Since beauty, (although often culturally influenced), is "in the eye of the beholder", it is defined the moment that "appreciation", ( of "beauty"), is felt. So in that instance it is the truth.
Notwithstanding that, beauty, although partly culturally ordained, is unlike the concept of "gram" or "cm" and is only "somewhat" universally standardized or appreciated.
Only the harshness of living, the denial of getting, the distance between us and what we want will give us a true knowledge of how we are.
I think you might mean, "who we are", although the original "how we are" could be an entertaining philosophical exercise! In either case, reaction to a photograph, always, includes who we are!
However, alleged "harshness of living" is not, always, in play! Here, below, for example, there is ample and obvious beauty. That is not only "a truth" but also "the truth" of this photograph.
_DSC3398 copy by Tom Dinning, on Flickr[/QUOTE]