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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?