In the spirit of spring cleaning I want to share something with you: I’m a minimalist. What the heck is a minimalist? It’s best explained by Joshua Becker, the blogger behind Becoming Minimalist:
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
For me, minimalist living feels unburdened, untethered and free. It creates physical space but it also creates mental space. Like an emotional decluttering. One of the biggest benefits I get from minimalist living is feeling relaxed and calm in my sanctuary – my home. When things pile up and clutter it feels distracting and chaotic. Two attributes I don’t thrive well in.
The important takeaway here isn’t necessarily that I pursue minimalist living but rather how my choices and the way I live touch every facet of my life. Working as an artist, my lifestyle and lifestyle choices also seep through in how I shoot and what I see through my lens. It’s part of my unique point-of-view.
I’m certainly not an extreme minimalist either. I have furniture, more clothes than in a capsule wardrobe (although I’m seriously considering pairing down to one), TV cable, a car, a king size bed and yes, I live in a house. You get the idea. But the way I’ve interpreted living minimal is being purposeful and mindful with the belongings I do keep and acquire. And when I do start acquiring too much a good old fashion purge does the trick. I actually really love getting rid of stuff and have a tendency to get overzealous with my donation pile.
Decluttering my son’s room on the other hand is much more difficult. Mostly because he’s a hoarder. I recently wrote an article with tips on how to declutter with kids for the parenting publication Red Tricycle (you’ll see my little hoarder in the photos shot for that article!). So, what has been the impact of minimalist living on my photography?
Here’s three ways minimalist living transformed my photography:
1. Clear the Clutter: All my families’ newborn shoots are photographed in their homes. So after I choose the room that has the best lighting for photos I start stashing and removing items that would otherwise be distracting in the photo. Bedside tables get completely cleared. And I usually remove any artwork hanging on the wall. Mostly because when I’m photographing people on the bed, only the bottom frame of the artwork will be in the shot and I find that distracting. If a family has a ton of extra clutter piling up on a dresser (more than I can comprehend as to how to stash away), I’ll try to remove any of the larger more obvious items and then make a point to compose my shots so that it’s in as few shots as possible. The same goes for any room I’m shooting in be it on the couch or in a guest room.
2. Center Composition: I love center composition. It feels strong, pointed and the importance of the subject is clear. This is my favorite composition because it’s clean, centered (both visually and internally) and puts what I value most directly on the subject in the frame. I especially love photographing my expecting mamas with center composition. Yes, I shoot at all different angles and compositions but I have a knack for center composition – it’s kinda my thang.
3. Simple Locations: I love all the locations I shoot at. I have chosen them for specific reasons such as lighting, texture and visual appeal. What ever type of location I’m shooting in I work to simplify it. I do this by either cropping out elements that are distracting, shooting wide open or using a specific lens to minimize or amplify the background. It’s all about leading lines, visually appealing patterns or a long horizon. I’m always looking for ways to minimize to intentionally put value on either the location we’re in, the person I’m photographing or a balance of two.
Would you describe yourself as a minimalist or are you a clutter-queen/king? Drop me a comment about why your style of living is so fulfilling, be it clutter-chaos or minimally living, and how it compliments other parts of your life. I really do want to know!