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Photography and Simplicity

March 29, 2010

Honestly, sometimes I think that the most difficult part of writing a blog post is trying to decide what the title should be. This post’s title was easy because I’m only going to be writing about two things today: photography and simplicity. Well, and I’ll be writing about what these have to do with libraries, but that is practically a given on this blog.

I happen to love photography and I love tips on self-improvement so I, of course, love this article: Use photography to overcome shyness. Another great, short post from Lifehacker. Plus, if you become less shy and good with a camera you can help out your library by taking great shots to use in publicity campaigns for the library. (Just don’t forget to get people to sign image release forms!).

If you want to improve your photography skills, either for taking photographs for your library or just for taking better vacation photos, check out the BBC Photography Masterclasses. Most of the Masterclasses focus on wildlife photography, but many of the techniques will help you shoot better photographs, no matter what your subject matter.

Now that you have a few more tools for taking great photographs and overcoming shyness, what does photography have to do with simplicity? Well, simplicity is usually best when creating a photography or any other image/graphic.

When I learn new techniques for Photoshop or photography or anything else, I want to layer and use every single technique into one image which usually ends up looking okay, but not great. Then when I start stripping away layers (in Photoshop) or extraneous objects (when framing a photograph), the image becomes more powerful.

It is in the simplicity of the image that it becomes memorable, which is a good thing to remember because, as librarians, we too often feel the need to tell people everything that could possibly help them in the library and want to share every tool and technique that we know. But this can lead to information and sensory overload. We need to remember that simplicity is key whether in explaining how to use a database or what images to use for a new campaign for library funding.

Simplicity in photography and in life frees up your mind to work better. And the use of simplicity in your work can spill over into other areas of your life. But, as we all know, not everyone is willing to take the time to organize and de-stress their lives. Zenhabits has a lovely post on 10 ways to deal with non-simplifying others. I think this is an essential read for anyone who wants to thrive in simplicity and not become separated from the world.

Get out there and start taking photographs, check out some Masterclasses, and remember that simplicity is beautiful. Have a lovely week, read a lot, and the Waki Librarian will be back with more technology and library stuff later this week.

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