A Simple Life

A growing awareness of environmental issues has created a parallel change in personal values for many people. Instead of the conspicuous consumption of years past and the over indulgent styles of the 90's, more and more seek a quieter lifestyle.
Waterfalls beauty
Instead of leaving a big footprint on the earth and its resources, young and old are seeking simplicity, privacy and inner peace. These trends are reflected in images used in today's advertising and media of all kinds.
The sound of water in nature has a wonderful calming effect. Whenever you have a chance to include the sea, a lake, river or waterfall in your images, you should. Natural settings that include water are also often in demand as concept images denoting "fresh" and "clean".
Finger holiding a clover in sky background
Somehow the "back to the land" movement of the 1960's morphed thirty years later into a new age of consumption, workaholicism and the mad pursuit of things: things of all kinds from huge houses to collections of electronics worthy of the multiplex. Those days are fading as environmental concerns dominate the news and with terrorism loose in the world. A new emphasis is placed on family and other aspects of a simpler life.
Father kissing infant
People Meditating in Field
The pounding, eardrum busting music and breakneck speed of the gym have been replaced by yoga in many people's schedules. More and more of us would rather ride a bike through the park or walk in a meadow than to endure the skinnier than thou/ buffer than thou atmosphere of some fitness centers. Other centers have been leaders in offering classes in meditation and relaxation.
Three teens
Work: we still do it for the money but often these days, employees are walking away from the boss from hell and seeking happiness in their work, even for less money. As we look toward the future, we see that the Internet is freeing many from the tyranny of the office and introducing a new spirit of entrepreneurship. I work for a company based in Tennessee and Bucharest from my home in Florida. I will soon relocate to Seattle without losing a day's work thanks to my laptop and Blackberry.
You're Fired!
Morning at home
Interior design and decorating trends as reflected in shelter magazines now emphasize the use of sustainable/green products, simplicity of design and harmony within the walls of the home as reflected in its furnishings. Instead of "McMansions", housing developments based on the small house movement are appearing in many urban environments. These communities provide walking distance to services and a village atmosphere all to support a simple way of life.
Daisy beside vase
Longhaired girl, blue sky and white laundry
When you take interior photos set in a private home, remind yourself to remove all the art and replace with prints of your own work. (This will avoid copyright issues on the art and not leave bare nails in the walls). Take away clutter in knickknacks and doodads. Simplify.
Take a break and meditate about illustrating these concepts:
Peace of mind
Inner peace
Happiness at work
Reflective solitude
An interesting article about the photographer Lynn Davis whose work reflects these themes is in the April 8th Sunday NY Times. "Travels Abroad Lead to Journeys Within". She says, "What I'm looking for are sites that evoke a feeling of inner peacefulness, some quality of contemplation".

Photo credits: Anikasalsera, Bettina Baumgartner, Craig Wactor, Gvictoria, Sun Jeng Tan, Galyna Andrushko, Vladimir Maravic, Mircala, Nyul, Rene Jansa, Rui Vale De Sousa, Showface, Vividpixels.

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April 25, 2007


ellen i really appreciate this subject as well. we all lead stressful lives and this will help us remember the beauty in simple things

April 25, 2007


you should be a cousellor just listening to your calm words have made me feel all calm and tranquil

April 25, 2007


Thank you Ellen for opening our eyes and minds. Now it's time to open our cameras ;)

April 24, 2007


Ellen, you spoke to my heart. I love these blogs, and this is the best one yet. Linda

April 24, 2007


Hi Ellen!

I currently reside in Renton. When you do move out to Seattle, I would love to have coffee with you one day and share ideas. =)

Brandi Havill
aShadow : web and graphic design

P.S. If you have MSN Messenger, I am always open to chatting. Screen Name: brandi@ashadow.com . (This goes for fellow designers and photographers, as well.)

April 24, 2007


Oh another one into which I can really sink my teeth! I love this blog, Ellen! Keep 'em comin'!

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