civilized ku # 4050 ~ wabi-sabi

Autumn leaves ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic - derived from the Buddhist teaching of the 3 marks of existence - impermanence, suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature (aka: 苦 ku) - centered upon the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

I acquired my first camera and began making my first pictures while living in Japan (1967 thru 1968). That was somewhat ironic inasmuch as I was raised up in Rochester, NY where I could walk to the top of hill on the street on which I lived and see the KODAK corporate tower. Nevertheless, it was in Japan that I learned quite a bit about the medium of photography and its apparatus, aka: (not equipment) the complex structure within the vernacular of the photographic medium.

One of the features of Japanese culture and tradition which I came to embrace while in Japan was that of wabi-sabi. Although, I never encountered that phrase while in Japan but, that written, the idea of wabi-sabi - the beauty of imperfection, impermanence and incompleteness - was part of everyday life in Japan. And, for some reason, I took to that notion like a duck to water.

FYI, I appropriated the word ku (emptiness) for use in the title of my pictures in order to reflect my picture making M.O. That is, when out and about with my cameras (which is nearly every time I leave my house) I am rarely in pusuit of any specific picturing objective / referent. Rather, I keep my mind free of any specific idea(s) about that of which I hope to make pictures.

For me, that mental state of emptiness allows me to be free to make pictures of whatever in the quoidian world might prick my eye and sensibilities. And inveriably, my eye and sensibilities are pricked by those imperfect, impermanent and incomplete referents which make up the beautiful mundane constructs of everyday life.

Life's wabi-sabi-ness, if you will.