Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #114: Negative Space

Simply put positive space is the actual subject while negative space (also called white space) is the area that surrounds the subject. The latter acts as breathing room for your eyes. Too little negative space results in photos that are cluttered and busy with every element in the photo screaming for your attention.  ~Nico Gooden

This week, our friend, Amy, has given us a wonderful theme for LAPC #114.   She is challenging us to focus on negative space, which surrounds the subject and helps to highlight it.

Fortunately, on our road trip from Michigan to California several years ago, we passed through New Mexico.  One morning, we stopped in Albuquerque to have breakfast with friends who were traveling through the area at the same time.  It was a great morning catching up with friends and enjoying the dramatic New Mexico landscape.  I have to confess that I’m in love with the endless desert vistas in the Southwest.  The sky seems to go on forever.  All that negative space helps to create dramatic landscapes.

In both images below, the sky dominates the picture.  As negative space, it serves to highlight the much smaller subjects–the sign and the farm.   I processed both shots in black and white to accentuate the drama of the skies and to help create the mood of isolation and even loneliness.

Sign on the Road to Albuquerque

Abandoned Farm, Albuquerque, NM

A Foggy Day at Dee Why Beach

This next image was taken at Dee Why Beach, near Sydney Australia, on a rare foggy day.  I processed the image in black and white and added a sepia filter, which helped to accentuate the foggy background and draw attention to the woman, sand and waves in the foreground.  I was looking to create a dream-like atmosphere.


I captured this image one morning on my way to the office on a bitterly cold day.  As I parked my car and walked through the snow, I spotted the frozen remains of a summer flower.  It looked sad and a bit pitiful–a perfect match for my mood on that winter day!  The negative space (the vegetation) is a neutral backdrop, and doesn’t interfere with the flower in the foreground.  In fact, it helps to focus the viewer’s attention on the flower.

Pine Tree Silhouette, Ordione State Park, New Hampshire

This last image was taken recently on a hike through Ordione State Park on a bright summer day.  The sunshine in the background created a dramatic silhouette of a pine tree.  The clouds in the background function as negative space, which helps to highlight the tree in the foreground.

A special thanks to Amy for hosting LAPC #114: Negative Space this week.  Her theme had me thinking about how to use negative space when composing my photos.  I really appreciate that!  We hope you join us this week and share your photos which highlight negative space.  Please be sure to include a link to Amy’s post and the tag “Lens Artists” so we can find you easily in the WP Reader.

And another big thank you to Rusha Sams for hosting LAPC #113, A Labor of Love last week. Her theme inspired a variety of interpretations and gave us a wonderful window into people at work around the globe.  Some of you shared a few favorite projects, which are your labors of love, such as gardening, enjoying gourmet food, and playing music.  Thank you, Rusha, for leading all of us!

Here’s our host schedule for the rest of September:

In closing, I hope you can find a little oasis of peace and creativity amidst the crazy whirl of life!  Take care and stay well.

115 replies »

  1. I knew you would have wonderful examples for this one Patti and you did not disappoint! Loved your use of B&W to help create the mood in these beautiful images. My favorite is your poor little flower, as sad as you say, and also the NM sign, which is wonderfully evocative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tina. I can’t believe I had those first two shots in my Google Photos file and never noticed them until a few days ago. What luck that they fit the challenge. I’m glad you like the processing in B& W. I thought it fit the mood I was trying to convey. Now I want to take another road trip out west again! Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments! They are always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was thrilled to find those first 2 shots in my Google photos file! What a pleasant surprise! Thank you, Anne, for your thoughts. I am looking forward to your post, too. I hope you can join us.


    • Thank you, Margaret! I was so happy I found these images last week. I was surprised how dramatic they were. Glad you agree that the monochrome works. It just felt right. I think it adds to the drama.😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, A-C. Thank you! I’m glad you agree with monochrome for this one. That poor flower! The Michigan winters are so gray and cold. It just “fit” the mood! The farm was haunting, wasn’t it? I’d love to know the story behind it. Take care and have a good week. I hope it’s sunny and still a bit warm.


    • Thank you, Siobhan. I appreciate your thoughts on them. The clouds are so expressive in that part of the country! I love it! I hope all’s well with you. Maybe you’ll join us this week?


      • The fires are really bad. The smoke is even bad up in Vancouver. Our son showed us what downtown Vancouver looks like today. Take care of yourself. And I hope you get all set up with a new computer soon!


  2. I love the drama in these photos. The Australian one in particular intrigues me…where was she going? Is she an indigenous woman? Is she a tourist? I love it when a photo has me asking questions about the subject. So the use of negative space was perfect. I have focused entirely on the woman , the subject , of the photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. I’m so glad you mentioned that one. I was wondering if it worked. The fog is tricky to capture. She is a bit mysterious, isn’t she? The beach was fairly quiet that day, which adds to the mystery. Thanks for your thoughts, Anne!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think B&W can really accentuates feeling of negative space and your photos are perfect examples. I laughed when I read what you said about New Mexico. The West lends itself to these types of shots with the wide open sky and often not much else. Of course macro does the same which is why I was so happy with this challenge. 😉 Lovely entries.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Babsje. I’m delighted that you like the shots from the road! I was delighted to find this “buried” treasure in my files earlier in the week! Take care and have a complete recovery!


      • Hi Patty. I’ve enjoyed your road trip to Albuquerque. Haven’t been there in 30+ years and I bet your scenes were present even back then. Best, Babsje


  4. Great set of image with negative space, Patti! I love all of them! I have learned how the negative space can make such an impact from you, especially how it can isolate the subject. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Amy. Thank you! I was so happy to find these images in my files. Thanks to you, I’m also going to be more aware of negative space and deliberate when I use it in my photos. This was a great theme to open our eyes to the power of negative space! Take care and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous photos, especially the first two with the open sky. I like the use of the black and white too. And funnily enough I have walked on Dee Why Beach though not in the fog! Again, great use of monochrome.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That line tree photo is so original and just extra cool!
    The frosty flower is also cool (pun intended)
    And Just love your selections overall.

    And the opening Nico Gooden quote was good but I slightly disagreed with the Ending

    “Too little negative space results in photos that are cluttered and busy with every element in the photo screaming for your attention”
    It seems to place a value judgement on photos that had too little negative space – by saying it was cluttered and busy was a little slanted-
    Sometimes we call
    That “rich” and full
    Or we call it vibrant and not screaming – but loud and bold and captivating –
    So I think it comes down to “different” and depends on the mood
    Not to over chat it up here – but the cluttered word is what I liked least – too subjective

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Yvonne! I’m delighted you like those shots. I think it’s true that as long as the subject in the photo is clear a little clutter is fine. Too much would “drown” the subject, unless of course your subject was “chaos!” I’ll have to look more closely at some photos I like and see if that idea “holds up.” Interesting thought! Thanks for giving me that idea to investigate!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That poor little flower is popular this week! I always think of that image when it gets really cold. I’m getting ready for the New Hampshire winter–mentally at least! It’s been 10 years since we lived here, so we’ll see how it goes. I hope all’s well with you. Take care and stay well.


  8. Lovely images for this weeks theme and I really like that you that you chose b/w, it makes them very special, even though I myself often prefer pictures in color. The second and third are my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

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