Photographic Technique and Minimalism
Marbles on a glass table
A traditional photographer often wants to show off as much fine detail in their image as possible. This shows that they have mastered their craft and they want others to appreciate that they have mastered their craft. This is perfectly fair.
A minimalist approach often calls for the complete opposite, a reduction in the amount of information present and the corresponding jettisoning of said technique. Example – the traditional photographer will often try to bring out as much information from shadows as possible whereas the minimalist will deliberately lose what little information is in the shadows to strengthen the image overall.
Many photographers want to show you that they have mastered a particular technique. A minimal approach does not allow for this – A minimalist photographer should have the techniques at their disposal but should only use them when they strengthen the intended meaning of the image in question, never for show.
I like blues music and one thing that I have noticed is that, as blues players get older, they invariable simplify their styles and use fewer notes. This simplification makes their work infinitely more powerful. It is as if the mastering of technique is essential for the musician to get to the point where he doesn’t feel the need to use it. I think that this also applies to photographers.
To be fair their are many excellent photographers who do not think of themselves as minimalists but who practice this reductionist philosophy with their images.