“wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all”.
(cit. this article for a beautiful definition of Wabi sabi)
Recently I spent a week end in Okinawa. A simple two days trip was enough to rekindle my love of Japanese culture. In the quaint and quiet streets of Naha I found rest for my busy mind and inspiration for the kind of life I would like for myself and my family.
A life of beautiful simplicity, lived to the fullest, surrounded by a few well loved things, friends , work I am passionate about, pockets of happiness. I live in a city that loves glitz and shine so practising simplicity can definitely be a challenge, but it’s not impossible . As another year draws to a close it’s time for reflection and resolutions. To me this means mainly one thing, to take some time to think about the past year and spot a path for the one ahead. 2016 has been a pretty incredible year on so many levels. It’s been full of events ,travels, new people met along the way, new friends, old friends. It seems like in this past year everything was felt on such a deep level.I gave every experience my 100 per cent and threw myself in it with all my heart. It’s been good because it’s been a heartfelt year. Even the challenges , the difficult moments, everything has been lived fully and for this I am so thankful.
This has been a year of learning and growth. So many lessons learned along the way that form the seeds of this end of the year resolutions. The main lesson I’d like to take is quality over quantity. I have tried to make space for so much stuff and being the perfectionist that I am all of this left me exhausted and with a deep desire to clear space in my life. There is just so much I can commit to, just so many hours in my days I can use productively so it is necessary for me to cut off some branches.My head is buzzing with ideas but I have to accept that only a very few of them will be carried out and that’s ok. Focusing on what is important besides my family is my main resolution, choosing, saying no to things that are not in line with this year’s goals will require some exercise and a bit of practice but hopefully will lead to a more productive routine and workflow.Order and focus is what I truly need at the moment. I like to think of the year ahead as a bright empty space that doesn’t need to be filled to the brim to be good,but only needs a few things, in the right place.
Above all I want to keep practising the art of finding beauty in the imperfections of my life. I want a wabi sabi life. In Okinawa, I was in one of these tiny workshops where people meticulously and quietly work, often alone, to produce stunning pieces of simple art.I saw a mug I picked it, I observed it. I took it home with me. It wasn’t perfect,it wasn’t polished. It was full of ridges and bumps.But it was humbly beautiful in its simplicity. This is what I want for my life and for my photography. To be humbly beautiful in all its imperfections. This end of the year I am coming full circle back to my beliefs. If I have to choose between a pretty, technically perfect photos, or emotions, I will choose emotions, all the time. I believe photographers have a responsibility to produce the best images they can for their clients, but what is best? What is beautiful?It’s highly subjective and the choice is yours to think about how you want to be portrayed.
So if you see me coming to a shoot without the bells and whistles of lights and soft boxes ,just with my cameras, a knowledge of light and an open heart, know that that knowledge doesn’t come for free and it is my choice to commit to produce beautiful images through observation, empathy and use of light rather than my gear. To me, less is more . I found beauty in my imperfections, and I want to hold on to it.
I wish you an amazing new year, friends.
p.s. Above images come from one of the last family photography sessions of 2016. I feel particularly proud of this one because I feel like I succeeded in portraying the energy and the personality of each component of the family.Hope for more of these in the new year.