Minimalism and photography

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.”

For myself, my photography gear was affecting my happiness. Not because I didn’t have it, but because I had so much of it and it wasn’t adding value to my work in photography. Having all this gear was cumbersome, it wasn’t just physically heavy it was creatively weighing me down.

I wanted to focus my efforts on finding a style and having a voice. I wanted to focus on developing an aesthetic that matched my values, views, voice, and vision. My mentor at the time Adam Custins told me to start from the beginning to find my photographic voice. So I did, I picked up one camera and started taking photographs of everything without self-editing. If it interested me I bought the viewfinder up to my eye and pointed at whatever drew my attention and pressed the shutter button. Composition, settings, editing all took a backseat for this process.

After a month or two I reviewed all the images I took and found a pattern, I sore a consistent theme popping up. I did what Elon Musk says and broke everything down to its basic fundamentals and built up from there to find my style. It turns out I like Black & White photos and taking images of still peaceful moments.

I found what was important to me, developing a personal photographic style. And set out to declutter everything in my way that was hindering me from achieving it. For me, that was the overwhelming amount of gear I had. As a result, I found peace and happiness in my photography. And by only using three pieces of gear, a camera, a lens and an ND filter I found freedom.