Shibui is a Japanese term which refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive. Shibusa is an enriched, subdued appearance or experience of intrinsically fine quality with economy of form, line, and effort, producing a timeless tranquility. Shibusa includes the following 7 essential elements:
Simplicity - Implicity - Modesty - Silence - Naturalness - Everydayness - Imperfection
It's important to note that Shibui is not solely an art, but Shibusa is a concept. I try to encompass as many of the seven elements as I can, and apply them to a personal style. Although it has its roots in minimalism, it does not necessarily mean ‘less is more’.
The suggestion of Shibusa within my photographic art is the simplicity of form with the subtlety and calmness the image tries to convey. The images are uncluttered yet have a complexity of natural shape and design. The images will suggest compositions necessary for inner contemplation, whilst displaying the natural imperfections resulting from the process necessary to produce them. A mix of contemporary digital and traditional hand produced images.
Whilst I love the technology of photography, the advent of digital cameras and desktop printing has made imagery available to all. However, the sheer volume of ‘tat’ that appears on Facebook and Instagram has made me ambivalent and bored! Everyone with a camera thinks they’re an artist. - I can brush my teeth, but it doesn’t make me a dentist!
I started out in a darkroom mixing chemicals and getting my hands dirty. Making prints in this way meant that not everything was ‘perfect’ and even taking notes and doing everything the same way with stable chemicals and paper made the prints look very similar, but there may be slight differences in the finished look. I wanted to revive some of this craft in my current work and far from shunning these differences, I embraced them.
Making fine art quality prints on hand made Rice or Washi papers is an art form in itself, then mixing your own chemicals from raw material rather than buying stock mixed solutions adds further complications. This may well be beyond the average enthusiast capabilities, making my work all the more gratifying