Minimalism and photography. Do they go together? When people think of minimalism they tend to think of having to sort out their stuff and get rid of it. If you follow The Minimalists you will get a much better idea of the concept.
Everybody has their own interpretation of something they read and what they take away from it. At the moment part of my take on minimalism is:
Remove things that don’t add value to your life.
Adopt a conscious consumerism approach, buy what you need not what you want.
Think about using what you have before making a purchase.
Think about how much freedom you will have worrying about less stuff.
Whilst I am slowly reducing the amount of clutter I have, I’m not blindly throwing things out. There is a fine line though. The ‘keep it just in case’ pile is getting smaller in the house. Unfortunately the same pile in the garage is a more difficult task for me to tackle. I don’t know why DIY orientated stuff is harder to make a decision about. I’ve only just got rid of a steamer that hasn’t been used in about eight years. When I stop and think about it now, I can’t reason why I’ve kept it so long. The same goes for an old metal tool box with a collection of oversized spanners in it. A throw back to the days of DIY maintenance on the car. Which I also haven’t done for years. Even the wife thinks of it as a family ’heirloom’.
By now this may start to be familiar in photographic terms. How many flashguns, lenses, bags, filters, brackets [insert anything else you can think of] do you have lying around? How many of these items are kept ‘just in case’?
I know I’m guilty of a couple. Flashguns and lenses. OK you can maybe understand flashguns but lenses?
Yep. Lenses. You know how you read forums and talk to other photographers and they say you should have this and that lens. You hear (or read it) enough times and you start to believe. I got brainwashed into believing I needed a fast aperture ‘standard’ lens. So I got a 35mm F1.8 lens (for my APS-C system).
I thought it would come in handy because my kit lens was a slow zoom (F3.5-5.6). In practice I hardly used the 35mm. Lightroom is really handy for providing metadata about lenses at a glance. I decided it was time to let it go (feel free to sing that song from Frozen. Let it go, let it go… Yeah that one 😊). I did something similar with a 10-20mm zoom.
Over the years I have also had a bit more than a passing interest in macro. I’ve had three different macro lenses in the last 10 years. That’s an average of one every three years. I thought I would use them far more than I actually did. I also have a Raynox close up adapter. You can slip it in your pocket and hardly notice it. Granted the macro lenses get you closer but for what I was actually doing? The Raynox is OK. I’ve probably used it more than the macro lenses and got more value out of it.
My third lens was a zoom whose range overlapped another zoom I had. You remember you read somewhere about not doing that. Me too. Never get a lens that overlaps what you already have. I’m talking more than a few mm each end here.
So I’ve put my hands up. I had three lenses I wasn’t really getting value out of. I sold them on.
It’s funny how sometimes you can see the value in items straight away. Sometimes you don’t. I wanted to de clutter my photo gear and for me it has worked. Those lenses were hanging around longer than they should of.
Now if only I could sort out my garage….
If your curious about minimalism pop over and pay Joshua and Ryan a visit at theminimalists.com. You never know it may change your life 😉