Does God care about beauty? Does it matter to Him if the things around us are pleasing to the eye, or does it only matter that they have purpose and use? I believe that God created and enjoys beauty, and that we enjoy it because we are made in His image.
We learn that God created and loves beauty through the Bible. Genesis 2:9 states that, “Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” God ensured that the trees of the Garden of Eden didn’t only serve a purpose (food), but that they also were good to look at. Another example I’ve heard cited is the tabernacle. God gave Moses detailed instructions on how to build it, and there was beauty in those plans. Curtains and veils were tri-coloured, altars were covered with gold or brass, the candlestick (lampstand) had intricate detail, and even the priests’ uniforms were good-looking (Exodus 28). Again, both utility and beauty. We also read of amazing things in Revelation—like cities made of jewels and emerald rainbows—and elsewhere of the “beauty of holiness.” God’s word shows that He delights in beauty!
Another way we learn that God loves beauty is to look at His creation. It may be groaning under a curse right now, but God’s aesthetic character still shines through the work of His hands. Look at the details of a flower; the different animals, birds, fish, and insects; the landscape as a whole. Lift your eyes to the night sky; look at the planets and galaxies. The gorgeous work of our Lord is everywhere. He even has different styles! How much different are the rough Rockies from the idyllic islands? The prairies from the forests? The four seasons refresh the look of places throughout the course of the year, and even some animals change colour. The sheer scale of the beauty and variety that God made is a strong argument for His love of what looks good.
Since delight in aesthetics is a characteristic of our God, to truly reflect and glorify Him I think that we must do the same. Our work must not only serve a purpose; it must be beautiful. We need to take the time to be true craftsmen, making sure—within reason—that even the details of our projects and (as photographers) pictures are good-looking and artistic. That is how our God works; may we seek to be like Him!