We call almost-empty canvases and negative spaces as minimalism, an art style borrowed from the beliefs in Zen Buddhism. In Japanese art, its equivalent term is more nuanced. This is the concept of kanso.
Kanso is a Japanese aesthetic principle that refers to simplicity and is part of the 7 principles of Zen aesthetics. It's the lack of clutter and decoration, it's the dominance of mu, meaning nothingness. Presentation Zen goes further to explain:
“Kanso (簡素) Simplicity or elimination of clutter. Things are expressed in a plain, simple, natural manner. Reminds us to think not in terms of decoration but in terms of clarity, a kind of clarity that may be achieved through omission or exclusion of the non-essential.”
Kanso must be put into the Zen context. When you're trying to attain a kanso-driven art style, your attitude and spirit must also be as empty and void. To think not of unimportant details, to clear your mind from clutter and noise. From there, you and your energy are purified, and you are enabled to create works out of _kanso_— like an inkblot on paper.
So, how do you make art out of kanso? For the photographer, we recommend meditation of your inner desires. What is it that you want to capture? What's your purpose? Ruminate such thoughts in your head, and when you're ready, it's easier to frame your image. Take away all the unnecessary details and attributes. Just concentrate on your image, and viola! You just channeled kanso in your photography.
Inspireanalogue newcomers and share your kanso shots by uploading them in your LomoHome.