Friday, October 7, 2016

Minimalism in Life and Photography: To Enjoy Less.

Minimalism in life.

Our society is called “the consumer society”.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like”.
                                                                                       Will Rogers

We buy things primarily because advertisements tell us to rather than because we need to or want to.  Because modern culture tells us that the good life is found in accumulating things, as much as possible.

We buy houses and cars, clothing and tech gadgets, sneakers and jewelry, you name it. We buy more than needed. We buy things that we never use or wear.
And there’s a serious problem in modern society – a shopping addiction (or shopaholism).
 Does buying and accumulating more stuff make us happier?
Or does it complicate our lives? Distract us from what really matters?
Surely material stuff doesn’t make us happy.

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

It’s not so easy – to enjoy less.

Let’s speak about photography.
The lust for new gear really causes misery, especially when we are beginners.
The camera companies want us to think that our gear is not good enough. Always. That we can never achieve our goals without the newest (and the most expensive) gear.

A bad sportsman will blame his racket/ball/skates.
A bad photographer will blame his camera.
 He will change his point and shoot digital camera to a crop-sensor DSLR, then to a full-frame DSLR or to a medium-format film camera.
  And he will feel like his gear is never good enough – because new gear has never helped him to become a master.
Yes, it’s more difficult to learn rules of composition or editing than to buy a new piece of gear as it’s more difficult to go to the gym every week than to buy new Nike shoes.

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied,’ you make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled”. 
                                                                                         Charles Spurgeon

Well, we need to upgrade our cameras from time to time.
But it’s not the guilt of our cameras if we have no inspiration.
So let us enjoy our gear.

 Let us enjoy less in life and photography!

Let us enjoy minimalism that reduces our attachment to things, brings us freedom and makes us happier.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution”. (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus)

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom”. (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus)

Minimalism is “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”. (The Merriam-Webster dictionary)

 “At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it”.  (Joshua Becker)

The definition of minimalist an adjective is “being or offering no more than what is required or essential”.

Minimalism in photography.

The statement “less is more” could not apply more to the genre of minimalist photography.

We have already spoken about minimalism in photography,but the subject is very extensive.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak”.
                                                                                          Hans Hofmann

Here are a few general tips for your minimalist photography.

Keep things simple.

- Take care about subjects.
The key word for minimalism (both in life and photography) is simplicity.
All of the attention is focused upon the subject.  We should accentuate our shots on one or few similar objects. It’s the first step to make our object dominate.

- Delete unnecessary elements.
Delete any elements which may distract from the subject:  crop or remove distractions while post-processing or zoom in on the subject.

- Pay attention to the background.
We should choose plain backgrounds without any distractions.

Pay attention to composition.

Clever use of composition would be a plus in the minimalist photography.
- Refresh the rule of thirds.
- Use the negative space.

It is one of the most important elements of composition that we should consider in minimalist photography.
- Draw the line.
 When we properly use the lines, we are able to direct the viewer’s eye to the focal point of our image.

Experiment with textures, shapes and colors.

Colors, textures and shapes are the important elements of the minimalist photography.
- Good use of color can help to evoke emotion. Keep in mind that minimalism means limiting our color palette.
- Highlighting the texture of our subjects is one way to make a two dimensional image look three dimensional.
- Shapes suggest the object’s size, weight and proportion.

Tell a story.

It’s a challenge to tell a story through a single subject.
But the more challenging, the more interesting it is.
Minimalist photography is open to interpretation. Our viewers will discover hidden messages, meaning and emotions in the minimalist photography.
 Instead of a visual simplicity minimalist photography can be very impressive and powerful.
A minimalist approach can be applied to nature photography, architecture photography, abstract photography and other types of photography as well.

To summarize, there are a few key things worth memorizing:
Keep things simple.
Pay attention to composition.
Experiment with textures, shapes and colors.
Tell a story.

Do you have some minimalist photography tips to share? If so, just feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.
 And, as always, share this post with your friends!