As I sit outside underneath a tree, I started to think to myself “This is all I need.”. Then I dreamt about owning my own house and having a tree in the backyard just like this one. To have my own patch of grass and a tree to give me shade while I sit and ponder life, that would be nice. Then a quickly as the thought came to me, it occurred to me that I don’t need to own this dream. There are many trees and patches of grass in the world, why do I need one for just myself? Why do I need anything beyond the necessity for food and shelter?
This thought of own something. I realise at this moment in my life that the older I get the less I need for material or ego possessions. I no longer own a car, I don’t own a house, I rent. I use one camera one lens. I no longer use lighting equipment. I don’t own any bags to lug equipment around just a camera strap. I wear the same type of t-shirts. I have one pair of shoes, one jacket and a hoodie oh and a laptop. This is all I need for materials. As long as I can pick up what I own and walk out the front door I’m happy.
My aim with material possessions is to be able to carry it all. If I could reach this point I don’t think I would need anything else in my life regarding items. The world is already filled with so much, why strive to own it for yourself. Why work and waste your limited time in this world for items you don’t really need or use. There are so many things out there in the world. Do you really need it all? I don’t need much in this world. Food, shelter, warmth, friends & a calling.
I strive for a refined life, taking elements away to show soothing in its simplest form. A great designer doesn’t think what can I add, but rather what can I take away. This is how I view my world, the less clutter the better. It’s the old graphic designer in me. And the fight club philosophical thought that is so freeing. “The things you own end up owning you”.
If you could strip back everything in your photography, what are the bare essentials that you need? Camera, computer or phone, lighting.I thought about this myself very hard and all I need is a camera, and a computer to process my photographs. That’s it, anything on top of this for me is excess. I don’t need to purchase anything else, and if I really need something for a one-off idea or job I’ll just rent it. The less you have the less you need to worry about. And the less you have the lower your insurance. And when you have limitations you force creativity because the parameters aren’t endless. The luxury for limitless chooses can sometimes stop you from making any.
What do you have that you don’t need anymore? Be it a camera on a shelf, an old scanner, or even a folder filled with presets you don’t use anymore because you’ve got your favourites. Whatever it is I bet you have items you don’t need. Having less is freeing because it’s only after we have lost everything, that we’re free to do anything. Free yourself from this burden of endless chooses, so that you can make one consistently.
And with this practice in my life, it has started to reflect on my work. I frame and crop out unnecessary elements in my photography. I focus on only what is needed. Simplicity, Minimalism, Zene, Poor, Simple. Whatever you want to title it, it works for me, and it might work for you.
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