fog

A Wabi-Sabi Way of Seeing

Natural. Simple. Understated. Imperfect. Impermanent. These are words that might be used to describe the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. In her book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi HouseRobin Griggs Lawrence defines wabi-sabi as “the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay and death. It’s simple, slow and uncluttered—and it reveres authenticity above all.”

Amelia River in Fog. Encaustic photo. ©Lee Anne White.

Amelia River in Fog. Encaustic photo. ©Lee Anne White.

I like that. In fact, I just want to reach out and wrap my arms around it. My passion for the simple, natural, handcrafted, well worn and imperfect dates back as far as I can remember: My explorations in nature as a young child. The purchase of my first antique, a simple pine chest, when I was in high school. My collection of utilitarian Appalachian handicrafts, particularly pottery, which takes me back to my college days. Perhaps this explains why I love Japanese gardens and why much of the clothing I wear is based on Japanese patterns.

My hope is that this philosophy and aesthetic sensibility comes through in my work: In simple, uncluttered photographic compositions. In subject matter and my love of shooting in the “off” seasons. In the materials I choose to include in my encaustic mixed media pieces. I hope it conveys the beauty in the common, the simple and the natural; the handcrafted and homegrown; the aging, the quiet and the imperfect.

A Rare Daylight Shoot at the Beach

When I go to the beach, the camera usually comes out of the bag after sunset when all the beachgoers have gone home for the day. That's because I like to slow the movement of the waves and catch the colorful reflection of the evening sky in the water. But not last week.

The fog changed things: The light, the color, the depth of field. With the fog, you can't see very far, and this allowed me to isolate individual waves without showing any background except as a color wash. The colors may not be as exciting, but it still makes for a moody photograph, don't you think?

View From Hot Air Balloon

For my birthday, my husband and I went on a hot-air balloon ride in North Georgia. We met at 6am, quickly shuttled to a nearby parking lot, and had the balloon unpacked and on its way in a matter of minutes--in plenty of time to see the sun rise near Sawnee Mountain. What we had not expected was the fog. Our guide kept apologizing for the fog (as if he had any control over such matters), but I loved it. Here's a shot I took that morning. It was printed in black and white on Japanese kozo paper, mounted on birch board, and coated in encaustic medium.

Photo ©2014 Lee Anne White

Photo ©2014 Lee Anne White

Morning on the Amelia River

At summer camp, we had a song that everyone always sang horribly off key: "Morning is the Nicest Time of Day." Maybe we sang it that way intentionally, not being very fond of morning. I don't know. Even though I'm no fonder of mornings now than when I was 10, I have discovered that it's one of the best times for landscape photography. The light is softer, there are fewer distractions, the wind tends to be calmer, and your chance of encountering fog is higher. Fog is actually my favorite weather in which to shoot, though doing so can be kind of tricky. Just be sure to open up one to two stops (bracketing your exposures) in order to capture the fog. This shot was taken on a quiet, foggy morning on the Amelia River in northern Florida.

Photo ©Lee Anne White.

Photo ©Lee Anne White.