I think it’s fair to say that I am most well known for my dark side – my surrealistic fine art portraiture. It’s no wonder as, with few exceptions, this is the only part of my photography that I really advertise online and in galleries. It’s the part I decided was the way in which I could be ‘different’ from everyone else and market myself accordingly but like everyone else, I can get bored of being in one box and feel the need to jump into others at times. I have done just that recently when I decided to go back to nature when inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi and the Wabi-Sabi idealism.
Kintsugi is the art of repairing pottery, usually with lacquer and gold – hence the name, which literally means, “joining with gold”. Many ancient Japanese arts are centered around the philosophy of simplicity, including the art of Kintsugi.
It holds dear the idea of finding the beauty that is already present in the world around us. Whilst mending together broken pottery, the cracks are highlighted rather than hidden which is part of a Japanese philosophy where exists the idea of “Wabi-Sabi,” the act of embracing the flawed or the imperfect.
So how did I jump from learning about the traditional Japanese methods of repairing pottery and its philosophical values to creating this series of works completely unrelated to my normal style?
I was feeling completely uninspired one day until I picked up this leaf.
I remember thinking it was just beautiful. It was a shame it was dying, but still, look how beautiful. I chuckled to myself “how Wabi-Sabi of me”. I kept it and it didn’t last much longer, a day or two later it disintegrated, I wished I could have kept it somehow. I was reminded of how Kintsugi gives broken, or in this case dying, new life. It rejuvenates the earthenware and so it can be used once more. I wished I could have done that with this little leaf.
I realised that I could have through Photography and became inspired to go out foraging for dying or dead foliage and rejuvenate it once more. I collected only from places I always walk on a day to day basis. Just changing my perspective on what I consider to be beautiful made me notice so much more around me. I very carefully painted each one and photographed it.
These are my results, not my usual style but done just for the love of nature, photography and seeing beauty in simple things.
Although visually these images are not my typical style, I have really enjoyed the process of making this series. I have become reacquanted with my natural surroundings and now see things around me that I so often ignored. This series has again shown me how photography allows a view of the world from a different perspective and by doing so highlighting the elements of beauty that we so often take for granted.