An aesthetic and life philosophy I strive towards; subtracting the superfluous.
What is superfluous?
This is the difficult thing — you want to subtract everything which is superfluous and holds you back. But you want to NOT subtract the essential!
For example, subtract your superfluous social obligations and “friends”. Instead, only keep your essential friends and loved ones.
With gadgets and gizmos, only keep the devices you use 90% of the time, and get rid of the devices which are just collecting dust in your life.
In photography, only keep things in the frame you find essential. Subtract distractions and anything which doesn’t add to your photo. Often I will subtract the background by shooting from a very high angle looking down, or just photograph my subject against a clean wall.
Subtract the superfluous in order to give more attention and focus to the essential.
Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water
A general aphorism to remember in life which works quite well:
When in doubt, throw it out!