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 😉
My experiment will be whether I can use my smartphone exclusively for a month to take photos.
Over the years I have been
nagged advised by wife that I carry a lot of photographic gear around. I don’t but that’s an argument for another time. Anyway to lighten the load I have decided to only use my phone for a month.
We go on about how cameras have changed from the film days but we don’t always reminisce about phones. When I grew up we didn’t have a phone in the house. I used to have to go down the road and use the thing in the big red box. With some change. Sometimes there was even a queue.
Eventually mobile phones started to weave their way into our lives and then became mainstream. Although the first ones were the size of a house brick, and not far off in weight. Technology marched on unabated and we got to where we are today. A minor little miracle in our hands with more computing power than my first desktop PC(and more memory).
But photographically a smartphone camera is in some quarters still not regarded as a real camera.
Newsflash…mine is real. It exists, I can hold it in my hand and it is not a figment of my imagination. So YES they are real! I can take real pictures with it. On my computer monitor they even look the same as an image taken on my DSLR. How can that not be real?
Smartphones do have advantages (and drawbacks) over other forms of cameras. But we have a choice of what we use, how and when. If you want to use a mirrorless or DSLR or smartphone then why shouldn’t you?
My phone has Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth built in. I can share or transfer images a lot easier than on my camera. I still have trouble getting my head around why camera manufacturers make this so difficult. The technology has been around in phones for a while. Yet many camera manufacturers have not adopted it. Fujifilm seem to be doing a lot of things right. They get praise from the photographic press and photographers alike. Do any of their cameras have GPS? Not that I am aware of. Please don’t say use your phone as a logger and match them up in post. Have you ever tried that? I have. I didn’t find it satisfactory at all.
Anyway for some people just using a phone for photography may not work. For others it’s all they use.
I’m going to see how the experiment works for me. It might work. It might not.
But I am thankful I have choice.
I don’t know why but recently I am reading a lot about minimalism.
There appears to be a multitude of ways on how to go about living with less. Some say get rid of everything except the essential and most precious items. You could even consider downsizing your house. Because it’s almost empty now, right? 🙂
Others live by the ‘ if I haven’t used it in a year do I need it ?’ philosophy. Some might go along the 33 items in a wardrobe route. The more I read the more I relate to, at the very least cutting out consumerism and waste.
I am moving more to the idea of conscious consumerism. Really thinking about whether I need something or want it. A more thoughtful route to making a purchase, not just doing research on the product. Truth be told I’ve worked along these lines in terms of my photographic gear for a while now. It just hasn’t been ‘labelled’.
Marketing departments are always trying to get us to buy the latest and greatest. To be fair western society is essentially based on consumerism. Just take a look at the fashion industry. ‘That’s soooo last week darrrling’. Mobile phones is another one that comes to mind. Although I think you could lump them in with fashion to a certain extent.
So for a variety of reasons I’m applying a minimalist approach to my photography gear. What I have now I could call a minimal kit. It also means I don’t have gear anxiety when I go anywhere. Should I have brought that lens or this etc, as it can all fit in one bag. To go ‘really minimal’ you could also look at a fixed lens camera or even a smartphone. On occasions I just use my smartphone and it can be quite liberating. Especially when out with the other half.
Like a lot of things in life – politics, religion, jobs, lifestyle – what is right for one person isn’t right for another. But we are fortunate that generally we have a choice.
Some may not like the idea of minimalism at all, some may embrace it with a vengeance.
Who knows perhaps my minimal approach to photography might manifest itself into other aspects of my life.
(For further reading on minimalism you could try http://www.theminimalists.com as a starting point).
I used to think of investing as getting a return on money spent on something. Shares are the most obvious, you invest money in the shares you think are going to give you a good return. Risk also comes into it. Generally the better returns are had on the riskier investments with a smaller return on the somewhat safer trades.
No one is really sure what is going to happen in the Brexit aftermath. The United Kingdom would appear not to be quite as united as a few weeks ago. The sensationalism of the media isn’t really helping. We
will have a new Prime Minister in a couple of days and the economic fallout dust has yet to settle.
Apparently Brooklyn Beckham (yes the son of the famous Beckhams), has been accused of devaluing photography by shooting for Burberry.
As with every story there are two sides. On the one a professional photographer is quite annoyed that this young upstart Brooklyn should have the audacity to shoot for Burberry.
The other is Burberry asked Brooklyn to shoot for them not least because he has the best part of 6 million instagram followers.
The value here, it would seem, is in the shooter having 6 million followers. If the aggrieved photographer had 7 million followers would they have chosen Brooklyn?
So was the shoot devalued or has the value changed?
One thing is for sure, there was some free exposure out of all this.
As for the person who thought of getting Brooklyn to do the shoot…..I hope they got a bonus for their creative thinking.