Section Editor: Denis Pleić, bio bio

Analog Wabi-Sabi is a concept in Japanese aesthetics characterized by simplicity, asymmetry or irregularity, unpretentiousness, tranquility, imperfect quality and love of old, weathered objects – all leading to a meditative appreciation of the impermanence and transience of things, with overtones of desolation and solitude.

In this regard, it is also closely related to another Japanese concept, mono no aware, which describes a “gentle sadness” for the transience (and beauty) of things. Therefore, Analog Wabi-Sabi is a section which presents analog photography through the wabi-sabi prism and perspective, with particular emphasis on Japanese photography and photographers.

Yuki Aoyama, Japan by Denis Pleić

wabi sabi

“My intention through photographic activities is to change our ordinary life into an amusing delightful world.

The subjects I always choose are those who are close to my life as friends, office workers, high school girls.

Through that, my approach rests on “the photograph persists in enjoying our ordinary life,” and I intend to express my works without forgetting the exciting feeling that I had when I started my photography.”

Hiromi Kakimoto, Japan by Denis Pleić

„The places that I used as locations were all places that I had visited or where I had spent a lot of time. I collected snippets of vague memories and half-forgotten happenings to produce landscapes to photograph. This process is akin to dreaming, where memories and landscapes collaborate to produce images reassembled from memories that might only have existed for just a second. I tried to reproduce dreams also, in the sense that they change private moments into universal images. “

Shirobayashi Kiriko, Japan by Denis Pleić

„Being raised as a traditional Japanese girl in this chaotic world, I have experienced many inconsistencies. Japan is like a dumpling in which mixed and minced contents are wrapped neatly. I have been incorporating traditional Japanese philosophy and culture into my work with an attempt to form my own interpretations of Japanese tradition. “

Kitamura Mika, Japan by Denis Pleić

"As I look at photographs, what comes to my mind is always the same: what is it that’s not there? What is it that the photographer chose to omit? Thinking about these things helps me to see the photographs a little bit more precisely. The next thing I consider is that we live surrounded by the enormous number of things that we did not choose, as opposed to the things that we did. How is it that we don’t see/choose them? This is exactly how we reach the point of seeing/choosing, by permission and not through refusal.."

Reimi Adachi Corey, USA by Denis Pleić

„I think he built that connection over the years. Actually, I don’t think he had any idea what he was getting into when he first visited Japan, but soon after he became fascinated and started to appreciate the Japanese culture and the beauty of Japan, which he had never experienced in his life before being there.“

Yoshimichi Toki, Japan by Denis Pleić

„Wabi-sabi is, for me, a similar state of mind—it’s finished (material) object emanates this feeling of one-ness and empathy, of a certain meditative quality. In photography, this means photographs that reflect the author’s attitude toward the world around her/him, attention to small details, appreciation of often neglected everyday objects and situations, or, sometimes, just a melancholic expression of a human face lost in thought. Denis Pleić“

Ryoko Fukuyama, Japan by Denis Pleić

„Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic principle, a notion that finds beauty in simple, imperfect and transient, impermanent things, and has its roots deep in the Zen Buddhist tradition and the principles I already mentioned in a previous installment.“

Motoko Sato, Japan by Denis Pleić

analog wabi sabi

„Photography is one of the ways to look inside myself. I think the photographs of scenes that moved my heart, or those that I make in an effort to become better, reflect myself at that time.“

Shuji Hiramatsu, Japan by Denis Pleić

ANALOG WABI SABI | Shuji Hiramatsu, Japan

„I'm an art director of graphical user interface design for computers. I sometimes direct an animation related to it. I am creating something with "bits" in a clean room (computer) in my real life. But I began to feel that I'd like to make something with real, tangible things. Before I started shooting with film, taking photos (using a digital camera) had been a way for me to collect the texture materials for computer graphics. But now, photography is more than a mere tool for me.“

Nagano Toyokazu, Japan by Denis Pleić


„When I started, I was taking photos with a camera in order to keep family memories, but I now take photos to create family memories. Therefore, I do not take photos of my family’s facial expressions during everyday moments, or of their natural movements. I take photos by creating fictional scenes after setting up a certain theme in advance and then thinking about what kind of pose would be interesting.“

Fuzuki,Yu+ichiro and Miki*, Japan by Denis Pleić

"Our friends from Japan - Fuzuki,Yu+ichiro and Miki*: they show us the beauty in this world;the world which we only too often tend to see as a hostile and dangerous place. People like our friends from Japan show us it isn’t necessarily so. In the midst of tragedy and sorrow, there is new hope, a new communal spirit, a new feeling of selflessness. A lesson for us all."

Fuzuki,Yu+ichiro and Miki*, Japan by Denis Pleić

"Zen Buddhism is the origin of wabi-sabi aesthetics. Usually there are seven aesthetic principles involved, namely: kanso (simplicity), fukinsei (asymmetry or irregularity), yugen (profundity or suggestion instead of revelation), shibui (simple beauty), shizen (naturalness, unpretentiousness), datsuzoku (freedom from habit and formula) and seijaku (tranquility)."

Joji Iwasaki and Akihisa Nakamura, Japan by Denis Pleić

Analogni wabi-sabi

"Photography is a strange medium, and it is often said that the “camera does not lie”. Nothing could be further from the truth – and by that I don’t mean “extensive post–processing” and “doctoring” of photos, using image editing software (or advanced darkroom techniques). I mean that the camera lens (or lensless cameras, as the case may be – let’s not forget pinhole cameras....) sees the world differently than we do. Without delving too deep into biology, physics and the characteristics of human vision, let me just say that, like probably many of you, I have taken photos of things that seemed interesting and important at the time, just to be vastly disappointed when I got the photos back (that was in pre–digital era for you whippersnappers), where I had to play “where’s Waldo” in order to find the subject of my photo, which loomed so large in my mind at the time I pressed the shutter (photos of birds, anyone?)."

Denis Pleić , Croatia by Denis Pleić

For me, the wabi–sabi aesthetic in photography is a reduction of all things extraneous, leaving us to concentrate only on the most important, a kind of zen moment, a moment of enlighte­nment, a kind of visual “satori”... I discovered Rinko Kawauchi only recently, and I believe she is the embodiment of this “wabi–sabi” experience of the world. The reduction to the primary (pastel) color, basic visual element, separation of important from unimportant, showing the beauty of a moment in time: sadness, longing, beauty, loneliness. Zen experience. Beauty and sadness because of its passing. Mono no aware.