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.
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.”
Picture yourself looking at a landscape or a painting of one or two colours and you say to yourself this isn’t art, I could have done that. You roll your eyes and think to yourself there is no skill, craftsmanship or story here. But you would be missing something very important if you left it at that. First off I’m not talking about minimalism as a lifestyle choose of tidying up. I’m talking about art at its most raw, simplest form.
To capture the aesthetic of minimalism is very hard to achieve in a world that is full of content and never ending clutter. As photographers how do we capture a scene in a minimalistic style without blatantly copying artists like Michael Kenna or Hiroshi Sugimoto?
I had everything I ever needed, all the dream gear, Broncolor lighting, the latest Professional Canon cameras, and all the fastest Canon lenses. I had the latest Apple laptop, C-stands, tripods, all the gear I could ever dream of. I had it all, and at the time it was good. So why did I decide to get rid of everything after only a few years.
I try to be as minimalistic as I can when it comes to travel. The less stuff I have to pack and carry the better. At the same time, there are items that make our lives easier. I’m always trying to balance the dilemma between, convenience and essentials.
Today most people get on average 4 to 6 hours of exercise every day, and make sure that everything they put in their mouths is not filled with sugars or preservatives, but they pay no attention to their mental health, no vacations, not even the occasional long weekend. All of this for hopes of one day getting that big promotion.