The Imperfect Project – Wabi-Sabi

Two blogging friends of mine have started a new project – The Imperfect Project based on the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi. I was intrigued after reading their posts on this and started to do some reading up on the subject.

The concept of Wabi-Sabi is based on an old Japanese legend. A young man named Sen no Rikyu wanted to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. To help him he went to the tea-master Takeeno Joo, who, as a test, asked Rikyu to tend the garden. Rikyu began to clean up the debris in the garden and then raked the ground until is was all perfectly done. Before presenting his work to the tea-master he scrutinized his work and then proceeded to shake a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly on the ground. And thus was created the art of wabi-sabi.

Rikyu is revered by the Japanese to this day as one who understood to his very core the deep cultural thread of wabi-sabi. The concept is now so deeply ingrained in the Japanese that it is difficult to explain to Westerners as no direct translation exists.

In simple terms, wabi-sabi is all about finding beauty in imperfection; taking the time to appreciate the smallest of things around us. In this world where everyone strives for perfection we increasingly forget to appreciate the broken, old, used and transient things around us. When is the last time you looked at a piece of wood, say your planks of decking for instance, and noted the beautiful grain, the knots and the imperfections that make each plank unique?

So, the Imperfect Project is all about appreciating those things around us that follow the concept of wabi-sabi.

My partners in crime are Julie at one good picture  and Ron at My Photos of Australia.

If you wish to join us on this journey of discovery please tag your blog posts with “imperfect project” so that we can find your posts and feel free to drop me a line with the link.

So, here is my first photo for this project:

Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country

I took this at the weekend on our way back from Elbow Falls in Kananaskis Country in Alberta. It is a spot we often drive past but rarely stop at as it usually looks nice, but not as outstandingly nice as the falls further down. So, to us it was always a little imperfect, not worth stopping at. The photo itself is also not very perfect; thanks to the sun shining right on the snow and ice some of the highlights are blown and I tried to rectify that in post processing, but there is only so much you can do. Despite that, I like the photo, as it conveys the vastness and emptiness of the Kananaskis region.

Categories: The Imperfect Project | Tags: , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “The Imperfect Project – Wabi-Sabi

  1. To my eye this image looks great, I think I can identify with a feeling of imperfection that resides solely in the photographers Heart. Great First try! I wish you success in this project I feel there is a lot to be learned.


  2. Julie

    I’m excited to have you join and appreciate your wonderful explanation of the concept. This type of “imperfect” strikes a chord with me. I so often see interesting things as I’m traveling but being so intent on what I perceive as a more perfect opportunity ahead, I don’t stop. Even if the shot would turn out to be less than perfect, it’s a moment missed that I won’t be given the opportunity to experience again. I hope you enjoy exploring the imperfect.


    • Julie, that I think is most of us. How often do I find myself saying “We’ll stop there next time”, but then never do. Hopefully this will teach me and others to really appreciate the usually unappreciated!


  3. Tammy

    I love your explanation of this project…I was having a hard time figuring it out and your explanation hit home. I will be jumping into the project soon! Love your “imperfect” landscape, although it is perfectly beautiful in my eyes!


    • Tammy, so glad you found my take on this useful. Looking forward to seeing what your imperfections will look like.


  4. Pingback: The Imperfect Project – Underwater Moss | My Journey

  5. Sometimes we have to say: it is what it is…. and go with it. I have a lot of memories even though the image wasn’t worth the time to post-process.

    Liked by 1 person

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