Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #43: Less Is More

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. —Hans Hofmann

Amy has given us a terrific theme this week, which has me looking at my photographs in a new way.  What is absolutely necessary in an image to convey a mood, a feeling, a moment, a place?  What’s extraneous?   That’s the challenge of minimalism.

In theory, this should be easy for me.  I’ve been practicing minimalism in my real life–by paring down my belongings as we travel and taking only the essentials.  Now I have a chance to practice it in my photography, which was more challenging than I expected.

I started with several shots of beaches.  (I’m already thinking of summer.)  I tried to look at the shot in terms of what’s essential and cropped out whatever was extraneous.

Nadi, Fiji

The simplest things are often the truest. —Richard Bach

I cropped the shot so that just a narrow band of land remained, so the focus is on the sky and water.

Less Land, More Sky.  Beach at Sunset, Nadi, Fiji

Santa Monica, California

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

The sand at Santa Monica Beach seems vast from this angle.  The water is far in the distance.  By cropping out the buildings on the pier on the right, this almost looks like a desert instead of a beach.

Santa Monica Beach Minimalism.

Savusavu, Fiji

Simplicity is the glory of expression. —Walt Whitman

In this beach shot, I cropped the trees so that only a hit of the palms remain.  The focus is on the coconuts, the water, and that tropical blue sky.

Savusavu, Fiji.

Curl, Curl Beach. Sydney, Australia

It is always the simple that produces the marvelous. —Amelia Barr

The evening sky dominates here and so does the sand.  The woman and city are tiny in comparison.

Curl Curl Beach at Sunset. Sydney, Australia

New Victoria Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

Live simply so that others may simply live.~Elizabeth Ann Seton. 

This last shot was taken at a fantastic exhibit of M.C. Escher’s works in Melbourne, Australia.  This corridor is a wonderful optical illusion.  The passageway narrows and shrinks as you move through it.

M.C. Escher Maze, New Victoria Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

So, how did I do?  Which of these shots are minimalist?  Which ones are not?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks, Amy for giving me some practice in minimalism this week!  It’s a discipline to pare down a photograph or one’s life to the essential elements.  But it has the potential to liberate us from the extraneous elements, convey a purer message, and instill joy.

We hope you join the fun this week in Amy’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #43 Less is More.  Next week, it’s Tina’s turn to post challenge #44.

Wishing you a wonderful and inspiring week in your part of the world.  Is it summer yet?

46 replies »

  1. I love how you crop you photos and leave the colorful sunset, blue sky, beautiful beach, … for viewers to enjoy. These are wonderful examples for “less is more”. The last photo is beautifully captured. To me “the passageway narrows and shrinks as you move through it” coincides the concept of “there is nothing left to take away”. Well done, Patti!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Amy. I really enjoyed “subtracting” from the image and seeing what was left. Great challenge. I hadn’t thought of the “shrinking” passageway in that way. It’s true that it’s really minimalist! It got down to about 3 feet high at the end!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, MM. Yes. We have been very fortunate to go to some great beaches in the past year. We were amazed at the gorgeous beaches in North Sydney. One was more gorgeous than the next! 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I like the one of the beach with the rocks in the water. It is very simple yet the rocks lead the eye through the image to the open sky. The last shot is really good too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sally. I didn’t know that you had such a talented mother! I’d love to see some of her work too. In those years, women artists had to work so hard for recognition. She must have been quite exceptional.


      • Yes, she was an artist in her soul, and knew that’s what she wanted to pursue, even as a child. First, she got an undergraduate degree, because art was not a profession for women. Later an uncle supported her art education at a well-known institution. She was in a group of women that went to Washington, D.C. monthly to have their work critiqued by Morris Louis. She was quite successful locally, and praised by the art critic of a well-known East Coast newspaper. The story from there is very much about women and their abilities to be in a male-dominated field.

        Liked by 2 people

      • She sounds remarkable, Sally. A woman at that age and time had to work so hard for recognition. You must be proud of her accomplishments. 🙂


  3. I think the second one is the least minimalistic, at least to me. There’s a lot going on on the right side. The other outdoor shots has such a vast expanse of two main areas that they make everything else seem small. I went back and forth in my mind about the last one, but I like it and I think it seems rather pared down to me. 🙂 Lovely choices, Patti.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Nora. 🙂 🙂 Fiji was amazing. The beaches were always pristine and nearly empty except for a few local people. We were stunned by their beauty. Glad you enjoyed them too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m all about that Sydney shot Patti – it’s minimalism at it’s best! I do love the Escher passageway but you needed to kick those darned people out LOL! The Fuji beach shot is also amazing. Great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tina. Many thanks. 🙂 I really enjoyed Amy’s theme. So glad you liked the Sydney beach. Our dear friends took us to so many wonderful beaches nearby, each with its own “personality.” The one you picked is a favorite too. As for the passageway, it was so much fun to see people’s surprise when they realized the corridor was getting lower and narrower!


  5. Great photography! I love the variety. I like that you have nature/beach shots and the black and white geometric photo. It’s very striking with the pop of color (woman’s red shoes) against the black and white background.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great photos, Patti. Makes me thinking of summer, too, even though we just had some snow the day before.
    My favorite is the Australia one. Maybe because the color? Or because it is quiet and peaceful?
    Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know this is strictly my personal preference, but to me, the photos here without people are the most minimalist. For me, adding people always introduces an additional storyline. They are all very nice photos!


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