Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

Muted Blooms

“Pared down to its essence, Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature.”

Tadao Ando

This week it’s all up to you – you get to choose your subject and to share whatever it is about it that you find interesting. Personally, I’ve chosen last week’s introduction to the concept of Wabi-Sabi, particularly as it relates to art and photography, as my topic. Our local photography club held a zoom class on the subject, led by nationally-renowned artist / photographer, Jamie Konarski Davidson.

Magical Forest

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”

Marc Chagall

As a lover of both nature and impressionism, I found the presentation particularly interesting. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that recognizes beauty in the imperfections of life and the natural cycle of growth and decay. I’ve often commented about the fact that many photographers (present company included) are drawn to objects like broken down barns, old rusty vehicles, or abandoned homes with broken windows and overgrown, weed-infested gardens. What I didn’t realize was that in the world of Wabi-Sabi, all of those things are considered intrinsically beautiful.


“Pare down to the essence but don’t remove the poetry.”

Leonard Koren

Part of the concept of Wabi-Sabi is being aware of our surroundings and looking for beauty in everyday life – in its impermanence and imperfection. Ms. Davidson encouraged us to depict our subjects not only as they appeared, but as we felt while photographing them. As such I’ve chosen to highlight some of the beauty I found on Kiawah this week using textures and impressionism.

Southern Camellia

“The Japanese sense of beauty…has been dominated by a love of irregularity rather than symmetry, the impermanent rather than the eternal and the simple rather than the ornate.”

Alain de Botton

We were encouraged to slow down, observe and notice everything around us, making no judgements. A friend had earlier suggested I visit a forested, inland area of the island that had been overrun by marsh tides, affectionately renamed the “ghost forest”. My second image was captured there, as were my header and the two images that follow. The area has become a habitat for amazing birdlife, incredible grasses and hundreds of tall, bare trees reflecting perfectly on the waters in which they sit. The stark beauty of the place is the best example of Wabi-Sabi I can imagine.

Ghost Forest

“The intersection where wabi (minimal) and sabi (functional) meet is the platform for my creativity: space and quiet solitude, simplicity.”

Laurie Buchanan

In addition to the images I’ve included from the Ghost Forest, I’ve also included images from my own home. Muted Blooms, Whispy and the Southern Camellia were all captured early one morning after a light rain. If not for this week’s class there is little chance I’d have noticed those subjects.


“In every art, achieving simplicity is one of the hardest things to do. Yet it’s easily the most essential.”

Pete Turner

This week we hope you’ll share a subject that is near and dear to you, that you find interesting, or challenging, or perhaps that shows us something new or unique to you. It can be simple or complex, funny or endearing, educational or just for fun. It’s totally up to you – we look forward to seeing what you come up with. Please remember to link your response to this post and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.

As always we very much appreciated your creative and thoughtful responses to last week’s Now and Then Challenge. Have you seen these?

  • Sarah at toonsarah-travels takes us through one of few remaining rainforests of the Pacific Coast
  • Teresa of My Camera and I shows us how her beautiful art and her memories of travel are intertwined
  • Khurt of Island in the Net speaks to the difficulties of isolation as we await the arrival of the vaccine and hopefully a return to more normal life
  • We welcome Alison from Travels with Ali to Lens-Artists

SPECIAL NOTE: For those who expressed a wish to have advance notice on our themes, next week Patti will present us with an Alphabet Challenge – Subjects That Begin With The Letter A. Forewarned is forearmed !

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week ahead.


244 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

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  11. I loved you post, Tina. Wabi Sabi is a great concept and you’ve presented it really well.
    I’ve gone with one of my favourite photo pastimes in this difficult year. I hadn’t really thought of it as being connected to Wabi Sabi, but now that I write this comment I see that it is very much that – looking at different level of beauty in what is around us. Anyway, here is my addition of blurred colour and shape: https://travelwithintent.com/2020/12/04/mottled-flecks-of-calming-blur/

    • Thanks Debbie, I really enjoyed the presentation on Wabi-Sabi and think many of us have been practicing it without knowing its name πŸ™‚. You’re so right, it’s a great way to recognize the beauty around us.

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  14. Thank you so muchTina for getting me hooked on wabi-sabi. The weather has been very mild (50Β°F) and sunny too – perfect for going out shooting like crazy, a fun way to spend time when you are restricted to your household bubble. I love your camellias and the way you textured them – what a lovely mood.

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  19. I really enjoyed your post, Tina. The photos are beautiful and you really hooked my with “Wabi-Sabi.” Thanks for a good challenge for writing a post.

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  25. absolutely majestic ..wonderful..you capture the exquisite grandeur of nature. Tina ji we lost our elder son in law due to Covid on the 23rd,this is another aspect of nature ,as life in beauty and love disappears for ever,can never be captured,perhaps only by the lens.regards

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