In this series, photographer and analogue enthusiast Simeon Smith talks about the use of minimalism in photography and how he applied this method to his own work. In this final article, Simeon reflects on the past year and talks about his final photography challenge.
As this series comes to an end I wanted to finish with a short photography project putting into practice what I learned. I couldn’t think of a better way to end than with another 6-frame challenge, like the one I shot back in September. I took some very expired film out to Pennard in my Lomography Belair with the commitment to myself that I’d publish every 6x12 frame.
Here they are. It’s been a year since I started taking seriously my wife’s suggestions that maybe I had too much stuff, and maybe more stuff wouldn’t make me happier. Around 6 months ago I started writing about minimalism in my photography. I’ve found that for me minimalism is:
• Pervasive. I started looking at minimalism in photography, and before I knew it half my possessions has left the house, my wardrobe has been decimated and my diet has changed.
• Infectious. I caught it off my wife. Maybe you’ll catch it from me. Who will you infect?
• More than an aesthetic. But the aesthetic is pretty damn cool.
• Green. I was taught the three R’s. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. As a society, we’re pretty good at technological solutions that cost us little such as package recycling, but the less you consume the smaller your footprint will be. There’s not a lot I want at the moment.
• Cheap. I’d love to say I’ve saved money doing the whole minimalism thing, but I can only say I’ve spent it on things that count. I’m not constantly hankering after the next thing, and that gives me more money to spend on art projects, coffee with friends, and trips to gigs.
And I guess, for balance, minimalism isn’t:
• Going to solve problems with materialism. I still have an unhealthy relationship with stuff. It’s just shifted a bit.
• Going to make me happy. It can only subtract things that make me unhappy. Finding happiness is a lot harder, but my best guess is that we’re all going to need some good relationships, something meaningful to fill our time, some exercise, some sleep, some good food, and a whole lot of luck.
• An identity. Our value is within ourselves, not from our perspective on having less stuff. Identify with minimalism, but let's not have our lives revolve around it.
• A destination. It’s a journey. I look around my still-overcrowded studio and sigh in disbelief that the more I get rid of the more stuff appears. I look into the frames of my photographs, and dismay at the meaningless shots with no composition. I’ll get further down this path. Please join me.
For more of Simeon's work visit his website awonderfulkindofimpossible