What is Minimalist Photography?
Open Car Door and Wing Mirror
There are a lot of photographs on the web. Many are presented as examples of minimalism. The problem, as far as I see it, is that a narrow view of minimalism is presented. Photographs that claim to be minimalist generally fall into one of the following types:
- Main object rendered small by expansive background, usually photographed with a wide lens.
- Dominant flat areas of highly saturated color.
I have no issue with these, honestly I really like the styles but I want to use this space to broaden the discussion using both images and words.
Minimalism in the other arts, such as painting or music, makes much use of repetition. It may just be me but photographers that claim to use a minimalist approach seem to shy away from exploring these repeating patterns, especially as they occur in nature:
Sunflower head - Repetition is Minimalism
Certain subjects lend themselves to certain approaches, modern architecture is a natural subject for minimalist photography but sometimes it is good to surprise, to make the viewer sit up and take notice. We have all seen multiple examples of minimalist photography in the service of glass and chrome interior design but I bet that very few of us can recall an example of a minimal shot of say a catholic church for example.
Art is largely about breaking old habits and old conventions. Photographers can be a little conservative in outlook with much emphasis on the technical and an unhealthy obsession with equipment and dollars that is not matched in any other creative discipline.
It is essential to understand the technical side of photography and to develop it as far as possible. It is also essential, however, for the photographer to develop the brain and the eye and to understand photography in the context of the art of his or her culture.
Anyway, upwards and onwards, I don’t know exactly what direction these writings will wander off in but I do know that the possible superficiality of photography’s relationship with minimalism is something that has been gnawing away at me for sometime now and when that happens there is only one thing to do – blog!
Please feel free to add any thoughts about minimalist photography – agreement and disagreement equally welcome.