This post is part of Tina Schell’s. LAPC #125 – You Pick it, Tina S. wants us to choose our subject and to share whatever it is about it that we find interesting.

She explains about Wabi-Sabi, an interesting Buddhist concept popular in Japan.

Life is beautiful only when it’s imperfect!

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist” Stephen Hawking

As per Definitions.net


Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete“.

It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, the other two being suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature.

Characteristics of the wabi-Sabi aesthetic include

  • asymmetry,
  • asperity
  • simplicity
  • economy,
  • austerity
  • modesty
  • intimacy and
  • appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

My thoughts

How to incorporate Wabi-Sabi in photography?

As a photographer, we are supposed to get the best shots, proper exposure, suitable aperture/shutter speed, perfect camera angle, and no blur, and portrait photos should include a compulsory ‘Cheese’ smile…I can go on.

We are allergic to imperfection and most of the clicks we take keep the DELETE button busy!

On many occasions, we curse ourselves for not being able to get the best shot.

We always look for the Ultra best clicks of whatever we take and in the process, we ignore what is around us in the form of imperfection and incompleteness.

“The word Imperfect actually spells ‘I’m perfect’ because everyone is perfect in their own imperfect ways”  unknown

As Photographers we forget the fact that there exists an art of imperfection.

In other words, we should look for ignored beauties, asymmetries, broken items, old items, or even decaying and dying items.

Simply put…it’s looking at a photograph with a different eye

All of us love to take Moon photography on full Moon day or Super Moon day. We hate if the sky is cloudy and blocking the Moon.


How about taking a click when the Moon is hidden by clouds?

A moon which is not behind clouds is ‘disagreeable’, meaning that a moon that appears and disappears behind the clouds is more beautiful than the brilliant full moon.” Master Shuko


How many of us (Photographers) show interest in those things that are broken or rusting or decaying?

“All things that have form eventually decay.” Orochimaru” Masashi Kishimoto


What about motion Blur?

In this photo, I see the Letter V- a sign of victory.

Life is a Blur. Why don’t you enjoy the present?

“Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into a painting. And for that, you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you’re doing worse than anyone else in the whole world” Miroslav Tichy


The majority are not interested in taking photographs of wilted flowers, leaves, or dead trees, since these things have lost beauty! What is the definition of beauty in the first place?  Who decides that something is ugly and on what basis? Unanswerable questions!

“A wilted flower says-Beauty is not permanent A wilted plant says- energy is just transient A wilted dawn says time has no replacement A wilted life says the soul is just a migrant A wilted thing is not a waste Its a guide that teaches the best That nothing is persistent”   Raghini AVS

Worn Out Wood Art

Why can’t we appreciate wood art of a different kind for example the image below?

“There are cracks in everyone. that is how the light gets in” Leonard Cohen

Please share your thoughts on what you think is UGLY & UNACCEPTABLE as far as Mother Nature is concerned.

Thank you.


Philosophy Through Photography

Image by © PTP-2020 All Rights Reserved



10 thoughts on “Wabi-Sabi

  1. WOW. Very thorough analysis, quotes, and great photo representations. Very very well done. I’d love to past that Hawking quote on m’lady’s bathroom mirror. She is on an endless quest for perfection. Argh. RE: Ugly and Unacceptable, I think what is most difficult to view might be animal decay, from roadkill to rotting bodies of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John
      It means a lot to me.
      Love the m’ladys’ bathroom mirror quote.
      I too agree with you regarding rotting bodies,a sad state indeed!
      I have a doubt about usage of Wabi Sabi in photography.
      Should it be always in the form of art style- I mean painterly / paint brush style?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My left leg is two full inches shorter than my right. I truly walk at an angle. Perfection never enters my mind. Years ago I wondered why people would even think of taking B+W photos. until I Looked into them Their lack of color does a great job of bringing out the imperfections.

    Share Laughter

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chris for being Frank and telling about you .

      Agree ….. always I wonder, who is qualified to talk about perfection and what they mean by perfection?

      Agree too regarding your thoughts on B&W photos.

      There is beauty in everything…..if only one is willing to see.

      Liked by 1 person

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