“There is a poetic nature to minimalism that is about striking a balance between full and empty.”
Jennie C. Jones
Sofia has given us a wonderful challenge this week–to focus on simplicity (minimalism) or complexity (maximalism) or a bit of both. To be honest, I’m a minimalist–in photography and in my life–which is a good thing, given our itinerant lifestyle. You won’t see me packing the modern-day equivalent of two steamer trunks and multiple smaller suitcases for our travels near and far. I’m happy to bring along my necessities, which include my camera and computer, of course!
I get uncomfortable in spaces crammed with a jumble of furniture, knick knacks, and decorations. Objects compete for my attention. It’s overwhelming. So, in the case of museums, I try to visit them several times–if time allows. Here you can the amazingly beautiful Borghese Palace, which I could visit over and over again.
(Click on each image for an expanded view.)
When I searched through my archives for examples of how I approach photography, I discovered many minimalist shots. Where did my love of minimalism first begin? I think it’s here at the Waterloo Memorial, which we visited almost twenty years ago.
I was struck by the power of the scene: the narrow stairway, the people climbing to the top of the Lion’s Mound, and the stark contrast between the green grass and the sky. If you look closely, you can see the lion, symbolizing England, with its head facing homeward and its tail facing France. For me, this scene represents the power of simplicity.
As I became more comfortable with the camera, my eye was drawn to simple landscapes with striking elements, like this lone billboard in the middle of the American prairie, captured on a road trip across the United States in 2018.
The same is true for architecture…My eye is drawn to simple lines and dramatic structures. Here’s an image captured several years ago of the Vancouver House skyscraper in downtown Vancouver.
More recently, I’ve focused on food and flowers. Once again, I’ve learned that sometimes less is more. (That also applies to eating what I photograph.)
For my final image, here’s a scene captured several days ago, when the sunset in Florence was especially beautiful. I darkened the buildings so they were silhouetted against the sky. If you look closely, you can see several swallows circling on the right. My aim was to create simple black outlines of the buildings and tv antennas so that the image was pared down to the essentials.
A special thanks to Sofia for her inspiration this week, which has given me food for thought about my approach to photography and life itself. Focusing on the essentials has allowed me to strip away the unnecessary details and pay attention to what matters most– the people I love, good food, finding beauty in this world, and sharing the best in and around us.
Last week, Ann-Christine gave us the chance to experiment with triptychs, something new for me and for many of us. I loved your responses–varied, creative, and intriguing–as always. Next week, our host will be Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed, so be sure to visit her site next Saturday at noon to join in the fun.
Until then, have a good, creative, and safe week!