How to Photograph Beauty in the Mundane

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I’ve been super-inspired recently in my photography: finding more beauty in everyday life — in the small details. Life is great!


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Definition of ‘beauty in the mundane’

First of all, what does ‘beauty in the mundane’ even mean?

The “mundane” is the ordinary, and everyday. Generally when we say ‘mundane’ we mean that it is boring.

But, I don’t think the ordinary and everyday should be seen as “boring” (in a negative way). I think true beauty is in the ordinary and everyday. For example, the beauty of a simple meal with your friends and family, the joy of dancing, listening to the birds chirping in the morning, the joy of a simple cup of coffee, or the joy of taking a nap or sleeping after a long day of work.

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I think you can also aesthetically find beauty in the smallest of details.

For example, I love to photograph shadows. Why? There is a pure and simple elegance of shadows– and you can find shadows anywhere and everywhere you look!

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Painting with your camera

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Another thing I’ve been thinking about photography is this:

Photography is painting with your light, except instead of using a paintbrush, you’re using your camera!

For example ever since I’ve been focusing now on shooting in color, I’ve been enjoying color-theory, and just putting together random color-combinations. I’ve tried to keep my color palette simple: 3 colors maximum to a photo.

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There is something inherently beautiful about color. I often just look at nice shades/hues/saturations of different colors, and these colors bring a smile on my face!

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The colors don’t need to be crazy exotic or anything. You can find color anywhere and everywhere — once again, finding beauty in the mundane through simple, everyday colors in the real world!

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Photograph light

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Whenever you see nice light, just shoot the light itself!

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Just consider; without light or the sun, there would be no life! So to identify and photograph light is to show gratitude towards life, and being alive!

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After spending a dark and gloomy few months in Europe and the East Coast this winter (I feel for you guys), I appreciate sun SO MUCH MORE (especially the copious sun in Sunny Southern California). I am never going to take a nice sunny day for granted ever again, and also never to miss the opportunity to photograph a beautiful sunrise or sunset.

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How to identify more beautiful and simple scenes

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Other practical ideas on how to find more beauty in the mundane:

  1. Look up:
  2. Look down:
  3. Crouch down:
  4. Shoot macro: Get very close to whatever you’re photographing, to photograph the details!
  5. Find beauty in discarded things or trash:
  6. Observe how children interact with the world, and how they put a curious eye towards anything and everything!

SMILE,
ERIC

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By ERIC KIM

Artist-Philosopher