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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  4. A very interesting publication. I did not know the work of Jamie Konarski Davidson and after gossiping about her page, I have entered a crazy desire to buy a lensbaby for my Fuji… I will put it in the letter to the Three Wise Men or Santa Claus… I hope that the confinement does not affect them. πŸ˜‰
    I recognize my little knowledge of art, but I love Impressionism. Your images that accompany this post are magnificent.
    I’m not too inspired this week, I’ll see what I can prepare for this challenge.

    • Thank you Ana, for your lovely comment. As always you’ve responded to the challenge beautifully. So glad you took the time to explore Jamie’s work – I think she’s marvelous!

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  6. Hi Tina –
    This should be fun to see the many themes and topics that participants choose for their posts this week.
    I like what you have us and the ghost forest is cool. Really like the wabi sabi mini lesson and the beautiful photos

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    • Many thanks Janet – your comment brought me a big smile. Your response is wonderful! As for Thanksgiving, it was quieter than usual but I have no complaints. We shared with good friends in a safe environment. Can’t ask for much more this year. How about you?

      • We had my parents over for dinner, so it was nice but low-key. I’d just gotten back from a short visit to Southern California to see our older daughter and her husband, so I didn’t have a lot of time to do much. But it was good.

      • Good for you for having family – that was a big miss for us. But at least our kids were with my husband’s sister’s family so they weren’t alone.

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  9. Ghost forest, the name pops out and the accompanying photos are so ethereal. They look almost painted. Also I didn’t know about wabi- sabi. This has been a wonderful introduction to it. Great job, Tina.

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  12. These photos are works of art Tina. Truly! So beautiful and understated . I love what you have done with them. Thank you for this challenge and congratulations to all the Lens Artists. 125 challenges! Amazing!

  13. Thanks for making this week’s challenge easy Tina! I love your use of texture and the explanation of Wabi and Sabi. My husband just put together a new computer for me and many things need to be installed, corrected. etc. I’ll deal with Adobe tomorrow! Take care.

  14. Thanks so much for introducing me to Wabi-Sabi, and I totally am one of the people who find old buildings, faded flowers, even decaying trees beautiful. I just didn’t know there was a name for it! I love your photos, as always, not only because they represent this phenomenon, but because they’re interesting and well done. Here’s my entry. I took the liberty to pick the topic of WHITE: https://ohtheplaceswesee.com/2020/11/28/lens-artists-photo-challenge-125-the-presence-of-white/

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    • Thanks Susan, glad you enjoyed these. The poor camellias only last a day or two but this year we had a much larger bloom than usual, maybe because we had such a mild fall. Happily I was able to catch a few images before they lost their beauty.

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  17. Oh, marvellous topic, Tina, and I love your Wabi-Sabi inspired images! I have long thought there can be beauty in decay, but have one friend who vehemently disagrees! I shall post sometime later this week

  18. These are artworks more than photographs, Tina. The opener is so delicately lovely, as is the Camelia. I have no idea how you achieved the ghost forest, but the light that sparkles out of Reflections is pure magic. Fabulous post πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comment Jo. The flower images were made more lovely thanks to the raindrops. I know some photographers who use spray bottles of water but I’m never that well-prepared LOL. The ghost forest, and its reflection, are all about her majesty Mother Nature’s glory. I did a slight movement of the camera up and down to get the effect in the image of the trees.

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  22. Masterspieces, indeed. These are all beautifully done. Each says so much of the beauty of nature, it’s hard to pick my favorite.
    Thank you, Tina for introducing the concept of Wabi-Sabi.

  23. Stunning series, Tina. Your opening photo is perfect, taking the time to look through the layers you have created…with the water drops keep me based in reality πŸ™‚ But, after writing that great compliment, the second shot would be the one to pick because it goes so well with the quote you have “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” Funny how this quote rings true with most things in life. Nirvana has this great song/lyric “I think I’m dumb, or maybe just happy…I think I’m just happy” which I love because it’s similar in spirit with the quote you used πŸ™‚ If it comes from the heart, it is good… πŸ™‚

    • Many thanks Randall – always happy to see your name pop up! Hope you have a safe and event-free return to the states and a wonderful visit with family and friends. It will be interesting for you to experience the current situation here vs there. I hope to see a new entry from you while you’re here πŸ™‚

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  25. I really love your photos on this page – and I just shared them with my husband who loved them too although we couldn’t agree on our favourites πŸ˜† His pick was the Magical Forest. while I liked best Muted Blooms and Reflections.

    Thanks so much for the pingback πŸ˜€

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