Friday, September 6, 2013

Contemplative Possibilities - Wabi Sabi

      When I traveled to Japan in 2007 I was introduced to the aesthetic of Wabi Sabi.  It is an aesthetic of transience and imperfection centered around the core principles that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.  Finding examples of this aesthetic is one of my favorite things to do.  People think it amusing to see me photographing rusted metal and peeling paint but I find them so lovely.  This example was in the attic of an old building near my home in Maine.  Time and weather, and lack of heat, had curled the paint into beautiful shapes and the light enhanced the texture of the surface.

   What makes these images especially significant for me is it is the first time I used my smart phone to make a photograph!  I initially thought, "Darn, I don't have my camera."  But then I realized that I had the camera on my cell phone so I made a few images and emailed them to myself.  I felt so modern and "with it"!  I do love the spontaneous nature of cell phone photography.  I will never be at a loss now when I come across an image that pulls at my heart, I'll just take out my cell phone!

   Of course, the contemplative possibilities in this subject area are endless.  As we try to forge permanent memorials to our achievements, to our unquenchable egos,  all around us are countless examples of how futile this pursuit is.

Everything flows and nothing abides,
 everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
-Heraclitus (c.540 - c.475 BC) 

   I have a board on my Pinterest site dedicated to this fascinating Japanese aesthetic and you can click on the link below to take you to it.  Perhaps you will be inspired to begin your own Wabi Sabi folio!

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