Kiss lipstick in mirror.

Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS)

When in doubt, keep it simple.

The paradox of choice

Cindy diagonal composition. Uji. 2017
Cindy diagonal composition. Uji. 2017

I don’t know about you, but I’m drowning in choices.

Whenever I want to buy something on Amazon, I’m spending hours agonizing over the “perfect” choice.

When it comes to photography, I’m always trying to “optimize” my photography setup. Same goes for my devices, and life.

I’m very stupid.

The secret:

Keep it simple, stupid.

I’m very stupid, so this works well for me.

Simplify your equipment and lifestyle

For example in photography, I just use one camera, one lens — simple, #RICOHGRII.

Also, I shoot in P mode (program mode), which is the true settings that pros use (Eli Reed from Magnum, Steve McCurry, Moises Saman). Keep your camera settings simple — just “set it and forget it”.

Negative space around woman. Kyoto zen temple, 2017
Negative space around woman. Kyoto zen temple, 2017

With your food and lifestyle, keep it simple. Don’t eat at fancy and complicated restaurants where they need to explain what you’re eating, and when they need to explain “why” the food is good.

Keep your travels simple. Enjoy local restaurants, coffee shops, and live like a local when you are abroad.

Simple and good

With your photography editing, keep it simple. Use the same preset on all your pictures, and also keep your workflow simple — don’t seek the best, seek simple and good.

I love simple

Have a simple home, without superfluous rooms you will never use.

Have a simple outfit — all black everything.

Have a simple diet — meat, eggs, veggies.

Keep your preferences simple. Prefer espresso over complicated cappuccinos. Prefer to fly economy or coach, instead of expensive business or first class.

Keep your furniture simple, IKEA is the best.

Subtract complexity

With your writing, keep it simple. Make sure that even a 5-year-old can understand you.

With your photos, seek to simplify your photos. Subtract distractions from the frame, and focus on simple emotions — joy, anger, anxiety, frustration, despair, or excitement.

Simple aesthetics

Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017
Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017

In terms of your aesthetics, keep it simple.

I like black and white, because it is simple.

When I shoot color photography, I keep the colors simple and minimal — I limit my colors in my frame to 3 colors.

Abstract. Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017
Abstract. Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017

Why simple?

Cindy walking, with diagonal line composition. Kyoto, 2017
Cindy walking, with diagonal line composition. Kyoto, 2017

Simple is better. Simple helps you focus on creating, making, and producing — rather than getting bogged down with small details.

I like simple writing tools, like IA WRITER or ULYSSES, and I use “markdown” to format my text.

Simple is good because if helps me focus. In today’s distracted world, the successful are the ones who can focus, by cutting away distractions.

Back to basics

I’m currently thinking a lot about beginner photography — the best form of photography, because you don’t have concepts that cloud your mind or creative vision.

Beginners are the best. They use simple equipment (usually just a phone), and don’t think too much. They make simple, direct pictures, that bring them joy.

For great simple artists, study Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, and photographers like Josef Koudelka and Richard Avedon.

Simple is hard

Steve Jobs agonized to keep Apple devices simple. How can you simplify a complex latticework of technological processes, to make an Apple device straightforward, intuitive, and easy to use?

Simple: single home button for the iPad, iPhone, and other I devices.

Simple: intuitive, uncomplicated, something you can easily teach a child.

Simple is good

Simplify your life, to allow more room, focus, energy, and time to concentrate on what is important in your life: empowering yourself, empowering others, and making art!


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