Less, But Better

Berkeley, 2016 #cindyproject
Berkeley, 2016 #cindyproject

Dear friend,

I’ve been on a bit of a “minimalist” binge. Part of me is that I’m frustrated with all this crap I have in my life— material crap, emotional crap, and negativity I have built up inside my head over all the years.

The problem I have personally been facing in “minimalism” is trying to get rid of everything in my life, and stripping down to the bare-bones. I think I’ve gone too extreme at times— trying to be too minimalist is actually adding stress to my life.

Confusion about minimalism

The more I think about minimalism, it isn’t about having no possessions— but having fewer possessions, and better possessions.

For example, don’t own 10 pairs of so-so shoes that fall apart after a month. Perhaps own 1-2 pairs of really-good shoes that will last over a year.

Instead of owning 5 cameras, perhaps stick to one camera and one lens (which is of high-quality, fits your lifestyle, and is “affordable” according to your budget).

When it comes to photography, share and publish your work— but only share your best work. Publish less photos, but better photos.

Edit down

When it comes to purchasing photography books, you don’t need a library of 100 books. Just have 10 books that you really really like, and books that you will read over and over again. Fewer photo books, but better photo books.

Same thing goes with friends and personal relationships— edit down your circle of friends and close family. Don’t seek to be the guy who has 5,000 friends on Facebook— just have a tight, intimate group of close friends and family who truly love and care about you. Fewer people in your life, but better people in your life.

Fewer hours in the office, but a better quality of life.

Less, but better in photography

Have fewer subjects in your frame, but make sure that your images have more emotional content.

Show fewer projects on your website or portfolio; just make sure they are your best projects.

A Bauhaus aesthetic to life

You can apply this “less, but better” philosophy in so many different ways in your photography and life.

Strip yourself down to the essentials, but make sure it adds happiness and joy to your life.

To learn more about “less, but better”, I recommend studying the “Bauhaus” aesthetic (which inspired Steve Jobs, and countless designers). Dieter Rams and Paul Rand are also two designers to check out.


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