I had everything I could ever need, all the dream gear. Broncolor lighting, the latest professional Canon cameras along with all the faster canon lenses. I had the latest Apple laptop, tethering equipment, software, c-stands, tripods, light modifiers, Polaroid cameras, all the gear I could have ever dreamed of. I had it all, and at that time it was good, better than good it was extraordinary. So why did I later decide to get rid of everything I work so hard to obtain, and only after a few years after having it?
For most of us, we end up reasoning by analogy because we’ve had the ‘why’ question beaten out of us. Naturally, we are born with reasoning by first principles, but our parents, guardians, teacher and mentors eventual put their foot down and say something like because I said so. Our curious mind and quest for reason and answers are destroyed by an authority. Do as I say, because I said so, don’t question me, I’m the chef, your just the cook follow the recipe.
You have found your style when you can’t do anything else. It’s your default your normal your nature. Style comes when imitation and influence perish. Its something that becomes one… you, yours. Defining your style or finding your style is a life’s journey. I hope you are always evolving and changing, never stagnant when it comes to your style. But at the same time hold onto its structure, it’s roots, its essence. So where does one begin? How does one create a photography style?
It’s no lie that Minimalism is the direct contrast and was brought to light from the juxtaposition of over-consumption. All trends start from the opposite, a rebellious movement around social norms. Minimalism isn’t new, its aesthetic has been around since the 1600s from Japan. Then later the word ‘minimalism’ was coined as an art movement in the 1960s. Today it is associated with an aesthetic and the juxtaposition of hoarders. But what I am interested about the photography genre minimalism is the appeal. The need, want and visually pleasing nature of minimalism.
Photography is about perception, not gear. Imitating or doing an iteration of someone else’s work is a quick way to a dead-end. Whilst replicating someone else’s work is a great way to learn technical skills, it’s nothing more. Instead, focus on developing your own perception, that’s the true road towards your own unique body of work.
I believe that we all have our own creative process. Our own unique way of producing our work. Be it getting inspiration, putting in the hours or through skill and discipline. The way we do something is ours and ours alone. But we all go through the same hurdles towards becoming a master of our craft. Novice, Student, Expert, Master.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method used to help you be productive by breaking down your tasks into 25 minute increments. This time management method makes tasks less intimidating or unattainable. I’m using this technique right now, to help me write this article on it and about methods for being more productive.
I stumbled upon a wonderful quote about creativity when I was reading a book about waiting. “The enemy of art is the absence of limitation.” – Orson Welles. I instantly related to this quote and how it affected my photography through analysis paralysis.
We live in a time of wonderful abundance. An era where if you have the means you can own almost anything. We live in a time where people keep creating things to make our lives easier, faster and more instant. With this abundance of choice our first obstacle isn’t starting something but rather how should we proceed.
Now before I get into it, I’m not talking about the aesthetics of minimalism in photography, I’m talking about the life choices and social movement of minimalism and its effect on me as a photographer.
With that out of the way, I wanted to tell you that what I consider minimalism might not be your definition. There are so many iterations. Lifestyle, aesthetic, spiritual, bullet journal etc. But let me put you in the right mindset. The Minimalists define it like this.
“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom.”
Minimalism, Marie Kondo, tidying up, goodbye things, less is more. You might have heard of these things if you have ever scrolled through Netflix or Youtube. You might have even come across a few articles on social media referring to decluttering or getting rid of your stuff, or simple living. Minimalism is becoming a social movement, culturally recognised. We have a lot of items in our lives that don’t bring value (daily joy). I would like to enlighten you if I may about adopting this movement into your photography and to try photographing with less.