Simplicity. The reducing of extra details, and unnecessary pieces. This is a major theme in the history of photography. When ever an image is made, the photographer must decide what is to be included within the frame, and what is to be excluded. When printing (or post-processing) another level of decisions needs to be made about what gets emphasised, and what de-emphasised. The wrong decisions and clutter can fill the image. The right decisions, and simplicity happens.
The pursuit of simplicity is something relatively new for me as a photographer and as a human. At least at a concious level. The image above was made several years ago, but only now am I responding strongly to it. Now it brings me great pleasure, and a sense of quiet when I see it. However, at the time, I just thought it was bland.
Simplicity in the way we approach the world comes, I think, when we are ready for it. A simple faith, a simple love, a simple image, all occur when our decisions about what to include and what to exclude become balanced. Not in any judgemental sense, exclusion is essential. We in no way need to be harsh or violent in that exclusion, if we are, we will just hurt ourselves, rather like the lens of a camera, we just point our minds eye to focus away from the clutter, the excess, the distracting.
In faith, I think simplicity plays its part in our approach to God. We can fill ourselves with wonderful words, doctrines, and theological statements, and we can fill our ears with the preachings of preachers, and the singing of singers, and these things will help us to know God and may even bring us closer to him. But simplicity would lead us to something perhaps less full. Less about words, less about sounds, less about the things and trappings of religious expression, and more about mystery, more about space, more about room for God to be in our lives.
For me, as I think and write at the same time, simplicity equals space. Space for the unexpected whim, the unpredicted thought, the unplanned praise to occur. Space for God to be with us, just as He is, just as we are. Simple.