Optimal Simplicity

Dear friend,

A very simple idea:

In our photography, let us seek ‘optimal simplicity’.

Optimal = best

What does ‘optimal’ even mean?

Optimal means “best”. Think of the Transformers character ‘Optimus Prime’– his name literally means, ‘Best First.’

Thus, when we are seeking the ‘optimal’ solution– we are not thinking of the most ‘efficient’ solution. We are seeking the best solution!

Simple as possible

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

My other best friend Leonardo da Vinci once wrote: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

The problem in modern society is we try to get ‘fancy’. But often being fancy is worse than being simple. I decree that simplicity is better than being fancy. Simplicity truly gets to the roots of something– and provides the best solution. Fancy is just superficial veneer– which is like putting fancy ketchup on top of a nice steak.

The best simplicity

Some basic ideas in photography:

  1. Use the simplest camera and lens: Often a small and compact camera you can carry with you everywhere you go. For myself, I like the RICOH GR II, shooting with a phone, and even the Leica rangefinder camera is great! I am also a fan of the new and smaller Leica CL camera.
  2. Use the simplest settings: Just shoot in “P” (program) mode with ISO 1600 and center-autofocus. Or just shoot in iA mode (intelligent auto mode on the Lumix camera such as the Lumix G9 or the Lumix Lx100). Use any technical settings which allow you to think less about the technical settings– and more on what is important in photography; composition, framing, and interacting with your subjects!
  3. Make the simplest compositions: To make a simple composition is very difficult. Seek to subtract distractions from your frame, than adding more stuff.
  4. Use the simplest image settings: Just shoot in JPEG, or shoot in RAW and apply presets when you import your pictures into Lightroom (download free ERIC KIM PRESETS).

Simple is better!

Lumix G9 pictures: SF->Oakland->NYC 2018

Shot on JPEG, iA mode, with Leica 12mm f/1.4 Lens:


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