I’m sick of reading misleading titles with catchy thumbnails that use bold fonts that have nothing to do with the content except for the sole purpose of catching your attention so you click on it. We live in a world where people spend more time trying to be heard rather than focusing on what to say. Do you really think that meaningful content is manifested just to get more likes? Great work comes from the soul, from a place of meaning, purpose, a personal story, a creative exploration into one’s self.
Pick up your camera, hold it, look at it, and ask yourself is my camera obsolete. Does it no longer achieve what I require from it? Chances are you can think of a few things your camera needs. But if you’re being honest with yourself you’re just comparing your current camera with another. We all compare, we all want something someone else has. We want abundance, more, the newest shiny whatever. But when you think about purpose, function, getting the job done. Do you really need that new camera or camera model upgrade?
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.”
Let say you want to photograph, edit and upload a photo to Instagram every day of the week? That’s 365 photos, that’s a lot of work. How about 5 days a week. That’s more achievable and gives you the weekend to take images and edit them for the whole week, rather than a daily commitment spanning the year. How about three images a week. That’s doable, you could do that. How about one image a week, now that’s easy. That’s where you start, with easy.
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.
What if you had the same camera, lighting and subject matter as everyone else. A groundhog day for a photographer so to speak. If we all have the same gear what would make you different? “Imagine you had no way of visually showing someone any of your work, and they ask you to describe what you’re about, not your genre, but what is the essence of what you’re trying to achieve?” This quote from Katy Niker is something we should all think about and consider when pressing the shutter button. What is it that you’re trying to achieve beyond visuals?
Straight off the bat, this sounds counter-intuitive. After all its through practising and doing that progresses our skills as a photographer, this is true. In contrast, stepping away from the camera or putting it down, I have noticed something that wasn’t there before and that skill helped improve how I photographed.
When most people think of the word Zen, a meditating monk in a monastery comes to mind, a practice of enlightenment, a person being in the present or someone without attachments. When I think of Zen, I think of a lifestyle that has profoundly influenced my photography practice. I would like to dive into the ways of zen photography and how it might enlighten your creative practice.
I just read a book covering the benefits of nature and how it helps improve human health among many other claims. I’m sure many of you would question or speculate on the validity of these claims and I did too. One thing I did read that interested me, taking a walk in nature, away from the noises and sights of the city along with the absence of digital screens, improves creativity.