The Wabi-Sabi of Autumn


P_ForestFloorWabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic.  It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.  it is a beauty of things modest and humble.  It is a beauty of things unconventional.  ~  Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers

For me, the concept of wabi-sabi is alive in autumn.  When the leaves begin to turn and you can see at once both buena vida and the onset of death’s decay, it is wabi-sabi.  It’s the curled brown edges in contrast to the still-vibrant green of the leaf  reminding us of summer days just past and winter days almost here.  Photography as an art medium makes it possible to capture the impermanence of a wabi-sabi vision and preserve it as a reminder of time’s fleeting touch.

But wabi-sabi is also part of the art process.  No matter what medium you use — even photography — the image is never perfect and it is often in its imperfection that its beauty is revealed.  I was walking on a wooded trail near the ocean.  The trail was darkly dappled and then I came upon this small shaft of light illuminating a single fallen leaf and I felt the presence of wabi-sabi.  So, while this photograph is not technically perfect, it is perfectly wabi-sabi.

What reminds you of the wabi-sabi aesthetic?  Post your thoughts or images and share your vision of wabi-sabi.

Happy Snapping!

One comment on “The Wabi-Sabi of Autumn
  1. Jana says:

    There is a spirituality of imperfection. We in the West are especially prone to narrowness of thinking, constricting our souls. In music, it is the discordant notes, the minor keys, that are the most ethereal and haunting. Fall has come to south Texas, too, blessedly. We have gone from drought to five inches of rain during the night storm on Saturday. (I’ll post some photos on my FB page–after the move on Friday!)

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