I have seen many definitions of wabisabi 侘寂, but that which appeals to me the most is the idea of beauty arising out of a transient moment, out of elements that in themselves contain the imperfections of the natural world. The words wabi and sabi also suggest elements of loneliness and desolation found in being within the environment of natural world rather than in a perfected, man made surrounding. I think this VIDEO may help to understand what I am trying to do. Have a look at THIS too.
The aesthetic of wabisabi has long been associated with elements of the Japanese Tea Ceremony 茶道, and frequently the finest bowls made for 茶道, as well as tea pavilions designed for the ceremony are described as having wabisabi characteristics. The bowls described as wabisabi have an especially natural and imperfect look.
For some time I have felt that some of my pictures, especially those featuring wild birds, have some element of wabisabi in them. I have found that these pictures tend to express my feelings far better than those of people or landscapes. Maybe it is more than coincidence that my new home in Japan, like my old one in the south of England, is close to the sea, and gives me many opportunities to see and photograph wild birds. Even my school, Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話川西, is close to the mountains, and since starting to teach there I have found many new areas to explore, especially in the mountains around the Mukogawa River 武庫川, valley, and up the Nose Line 能勢電 to Myokenguchi 妙見口.
I sometimes take some of my photographs to show to my students, and use them as subjects for free or guided conversation lessons.
Tim Musgrave says
I’ve really enjoyed your photographs you have posted here and in previous posts. You’ve got some real talent there mate! Keep the photos coming.
John C says
Thanks a lot, Tim
I’m loving the photos as well. I will continue to increase my photography skills, keeping you in mind as a mentor! Check out my friend’s albums, he seems to have a similar eye to yours, although I think he has a bigger zoom lens than you!
The eagles are my favourites… Enjoy! As Tim said, looking forward to seeing more of your great shots.
Edward, SSE Ohtsu
Thanks for the beautifully illustrated examples of Wabi Sabi. My student and I have been discussing in recent weeks! I look forward to showing him your vision of Wabi Sabi!!