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Wabi Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that is used to describe a particular philosophy that beauty can be found in the old, the imperfect and the impermanence of all things. Even in the most humble and modest objects can we find beauty.

侘 Wabi

Beauty in the imperfect ("less than"), restrained and simple.

寂 Sabi

Beauty revealed through the passage of time, such as in ephemerality and decay.

In wabi-sabi photography, we try to capture the essence of wabi-sabi so that others can see this beauty for themselves.

In the leaf on the left, I have captured the impermanence of the leaf and the aged picnic bench on which it is lying. There is beauty and harmony in the colours, texture and shapes. So even although we can see imperfections, we can still say it is beautiful.

How to approach wabi-sabi photography

Firstly wabi-sabi is about noticing and appreciating imperfection. Consider the following photographs and decide why we can say they are wabi-sabi. Words which might be helpful are: simple, humble, modest, old, imperfect, impermanent, irregular, decayed, transience of nature.

Why not look for some wabi-sabi photographs on your next photo walk. Immerse yourself in nature or find wabi-sabi photo opportunities around town.

If you found this article interesting you can find out more in the following posts.


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