Creating an Image: A Microcosm for Minimalism

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Two stems of Oxalis Triangularis, better known as the Purple False Shamrock.

I decided that I would create a social media presence to let people know this website is online and ready to accept visitors. It sounds simple doesn’t it? Come one, come all to the new site. Well it would have been if I hadn’t chosen Instagram as one of the networks to advertise the fact. If you didn’t know already (and if you don’t, you’re probably a much better minimalist than I) it primarily uses images with text as a caption.

Unfortunately, when I decided to take a nice simple photograph of one of my potted plants (I’m a keen gardener) in a style blatantly stolen/copied/as a homage to The Minimalists, I fell right back into maximalism. I immediately thought: “What do I need to get to take this picture?”.

I have a pretty good camera, and a phone, so I can physically take an image, but a minimal image needs a big white background or a light tent or some other fancy piece of equipment, right? I was already shopping through the ideas in my mind. The feeling of excitement from window shopping, or in my case, pre-window shopping is palpable. That white background I suddenly decided I wanted was now at the forefront of my mind.

When I finally caught myself I was shocked by how easily I had become distracted. Why did I need a white background? All the walls in my house are white. I already had everything I needed to take the photograph for this essay. In the end I altered the colours to a two tone orange and purple to further push these demons out of my head, and individualise the image a little more.

Quite simply: my brain was craving that little jolt of endorphins built into each of us when we ‘treat’ ourselves to something new. It’s time for me to admit, I’m addicted to newness. Our brains seem wired that way. I’m living my life moving constantly from one new thing to the next, quickly tiring of the last great new thing I bought. What’s worse, it’s getting more and more difficult to feel excited about new things. That little jolt becomes more and more difficult to trigger, requiring a more extravagant purchase each time.

Do you remember when something as simple as a balloon on a stick made you happy as a child?