What Is Wabi Sabi and Why Is It On My Photos Not My Sushi?

I had never heard of the term Wabi Sabi until recently.  There are lots of varying definitions but most centre on the Japanese philosophy of the beauty in things imperfect, impermanent, incomplete, modest, humble and unconventional. In fact part of the definition is that there is no definitive description! If this sounds all a bit too “high brow” then think about the alternate definition: “If a bunch of photographers suddenly take an interest in your hay barn, its probably time to pull it down…”

I hope the following images convey a sense of Wabi Sabi. They were all shot on an iPhone and edited using my favourite app “Snapseed”.

Dried Flower Study #1

Dried Flower Study #2

Dried Flower Study #3

Joadja is a ghost town, it was formally a centre for mining and processing of shale to produce kerosene. The operation lasted from 1870 until 1911. Apart from the mines, retorts and refinery there were orchards, school and cemetery. It is located near Mittagong in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia.

Many of the buildings are in ruins,but with a bit of imagination and reference to some of the old photos on display, you get a really good sense of the past. Naturally it is a photographers paradise (as per the Wabi Sabi reference to the hay barn above).

Refinery Ruins


Retort Remnants #1

Retort Remnants #2

Stem Against Rusty Tank

Header Tank

Roll the Dice

Rusty Flange

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