Minimalist Photography

A minimalist attempt at a winter scene near Ithaca Falls in Falls Creek.

A minimalist attempt at a winter scene near Ithaca Falls in Falls Creek.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 450, EV +1.0, 85mm focal length.

I came across the term Minimalist Photography this week on Google+.  Photographer Steve Johnson will be releasing a book this Spring covering the topic in depth.  He defines Minimalist Photography as not simply about taking a photograph of less. Minimalism is about getting to the essence of something. By definition, it is a reductive process that starts from a non-minimalist position then, through the stripping away of what is not important, gets to what is important.

As I said, I came upon the term after my visit to Ithaca last weekend. In past visits to the waterfalls, I concentrated on the BIG picture. The grand landscape.  This time I took time to look for small details.  What I call Mini-landscapes.

Rocks, snow and ice in Taughannock Creek in the Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York.

Rocks, snow and ice in Taughannock Creek in the Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 135mm focal length, cropped.

While I had not been exposed to minimalist photography yet, I was trimming away at the grand landscape. Focusing in on the essence of the scenes found in the snow, ice, rock and dried plants. Winter is Nature’s minimalist season.

Light and shadow play over snow, ice and a branch frozen in Falls Creek near Ithaca Falls.

Light and shadow play over snow, ice and a branch frozen in Falls Creek near Ithaca Falls.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 105mm focal length.

My processing of these photos was not in the minimalist way as I enhanced colors, textures and exposures.  I shall be revisiting this kind of photography in the future as I found it challenging which is always a good thing. :)

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12 Responses to Minimalist Photography

  1. Robin says:

    I love these shots, Scott. I recently read an article about minimalist photography and have been intrigued by it. You are so right about winter. It truly is the minimalist of seasons. :)

  2. I really like the second image. The subdued colors add to the overall image.

    Have you seen the work of Tom McLaughlan (https://plus.google.com/u/0/104330156508504717257/posts) on G+? He coined a form he calls ministract which combines minimalism and abstract photography. Very interesting stuff.

  3. Karma says:

    I love the hint of color in that last shot. It can be so very difficult to find in winter.

  4. morningjoy says:

    Well done, Scott. I particularly like your first two images. I think it takes a special eye to find a minimalist subject, but such a photo can make a powerful statement.

  5. Truels says:

    To see details (and photograph them) is very exciting. Minimalist photography is a good description of the way to go into details. Suddenly snow on a garden table can also become interesting;-)

  6. Kate says:

    These are great shots. I’ve always kinda honed in on the idea of minimalist photography without really knowing that I did—I’ve always been more intrigued by the details in a scene that the broad landscape just beyond.

    Maybe it’s because I’m short and notice things closer to the ground. ; )

  7. Phil S says:

    Great stuff, Scott! I like this sector of photography quite a bit and will be spending some time on it as well. Cheers!

  8. Giiid says:

    Although it’s not your usual style, you have made some beautiful examples. All of them.

  9. Pingback: The essence « The Aspiring Photographer

  10. I loved this post Scott, thank you. I need to practice more the way of looking at the essence of something, as you put it. Finding the detail that will define it best.

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