Say More With Less

A reminder to trim the fat

When I was trying to become a better writer in high school, my mom would force me to edit all my papers with her. She’s a good and articulate writer, which meant that I always hated the laborious process. A two page paper would seemingly take forever to edit, picking over every sentence with a fine tooth comb, considering if every word was both essential and effective.

I can’t say I loved any part of it at the time, but from those hours of editing, one main message has really stuck with me: Don’t say with 10 words what you can say with 9. Or 1.

The English langue is extremely functional that way; we have so many words with similar meanings, but each carries its own nuance. Using only the most perfect words means clearer articulation faster.

I think of photography like writing. Never use more when you can use less.

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When writing, extraneous words should be removed. When creating a photograph, visual clutter should be kept out of the frame. This doesn’t mean minimalism is a requirement, but that everything should add to the message, nothing should distract, and nothing should be irrelevant.

Caleb KerrComment