How to Discover Beauty in the Mundane

I’m back in the suburbs of LA, and shooting again with my (broken) RICOH GR II, and I am amazed — there is so much beauty in the world!!! The thing is — you can only discover this beauty if you look very closely.

Grocery store photography

I took my RICOH GR II along with me, and went grocery shopping the other day with Cindy and Jennifer. We went to ALDI’s and the local ethnic grocery store– and I had so much fun photographing!

At ALDI’s — I took a lot of photos to critique dietary-eating habits of Americans (focus on sugar, soda, etc):

At the ethnic grocery store, I saw a lot of beauty in produce! I took some up-close macro photos shot with a flash on the RICOH of lettuce that was freshly sprayed with water, and it looked so beautiful!!! I shot it in RICOH GR II, RAW, with flash, in macro mode. Afterwards, I processed the photos with ERIC KIM MONOCHROME 1600 preset in Lightroom, and lowered the exposure afterwards by 1-click, to highlight the drama of the beads of water on the lettuce.

Lettuce freshly sprayed. RICOH GR II, macro, and flash.

How to Discover Beauty in the Mundane

Anyways, some ideas:

1. Treat any and every opportunity as a photo opportunity.

Just shoot with your phone, RICOH, or whatever compact camera. Look closely– and I encourage you to shoot more macro mode and with a flash to experiment!

2. Generally speaking, I find monochrome a better way to discover more beauty in the mundane and ordinary.

Of course, you can do this in color as well. But the benefit of monochrome is that everything is instantly abstracted, which looks different from normal everyday life– which is also interesting. So perhaps, the idea is this: try to make extra-ordinary photos of everyday life!

3. No complaining:

If you live in a boring place, treat it like a fun challenge. The more boring the place you live, the more you need to push yourself to find and discover interesting things. It is easy to make interesting photos in an exotic place; far more difficult to make interesting photos in a boring place (this is why I admire William Eggleston and Martin Parr— their ability to find interesting photo opportunities in the most boring and mundane places).

Even a bell pepper can be beautiful

Bell pepper by Edward Weston

Edward Weston (old-school monochrome photographer) photographed a bell pepper, and did it so beautifully– to make it look like the shape of a woman’s back and posterior.

The morale of the story is this:

You can discover beauty and elegance anywhere and everywhere– even in the boring, mundane, and everyday!


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