This word in relation to fine art photography has been on my mind lately. I joined a Facebook group called "Minimalism". The work posted there is all supposed to embody this concept. But really....what is minimalism? My dictionary defines it as "the use of simple, basic design forms". I like that. Simple, basic...uncluttered. I would also think one could add to that definition. That it could also include something that has perhaps a strong single concept or message? I don't know. I need to think on this more. But I like that it has sparked some thought. I know in much of my imagery I have tried to narrow down the primary focus or subject matter. I like it to be clear what my subject is and for it to have a strong impact. So, simplify the object and minimize the distractions from that object. And speak to the viewer in a singular voice. Talk of a singular idea. Minimalism.....food for thought.
Juliet R. Harrison Photography Topics: Art Terminology thoughts
4 Responses to Minimalism
I don't think that there is an absolute definition of minimalist photography. I've been struggling with the question for years and never seem to do more than scratch the surface no matter how many images I shoot or words I write.
I don't strive for minimalism but I do see the stripping away of the irrelevant as very important to my photography - it is about getting at the essence of something, getting past the decorative and the sentimental.
Steve - I very much like what you said here. "I don't strive for minimalism but I do see the stripping away of the irrelevant as very important to my photography - it is about getting at the essence of something, getting past the decorative and the sentimental." Especially the "stripping away of the irrelevant". That is a good lesson to keep in mind on a conscious level when shooting. I know that I am instinctively drawn to my images that do that...but want to keep in mind that it can be done with forethought too.
I do think that minimalism and photography are natural bedfellows as they are both reductionist processes. The brain can filter clutter and extraneous stuff but the lens doesn't, the photographer has to consciously do that.
We reduce things whereas painters say start from a blank canvas. They add while we subtract.
Hope that makes sense!
Good thoughts. And I think they are important thoughts for beginning fine art photographers to understand. I see way too many images out there with cluttered subjects. The eye of the viewer keeps roving, looking for something of importance to land on, and the photographer has not given them any.
I will remind my students of this if you don't mind.
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