Thursday, November 12, 2009

Minimalism Part II – More Water Photographs

Umbrella in the Water - Abu Dhabi
Welcome back to the second installment of my four part series addressing minimalist photography.  Like the first entry, this post will feature photographs having water as a principal part of the composition.
Waterfalls at FDR Memorial-3
When engaged in a mental wrestling match such as this – understanding minimalist photography - it is frequently helpful to consider the extremes.  As we proceed along a range of minimalism to its opposite – maximalism (yes, I am fully aware this is not a word…but you understand it!) it may be helpful to consider some analogies that help translate the concept to photographic terms.  For instance consider the application to interior design: minimalism equals lots of open and white spaces.  Maximalism could be represented by the ubiquitous clutter and ornamentation of the Victorian age.

In music, minimalism may be represented by a single sustained note played on a piano, while maximalism of piano arrangements might be considered Ravel’s Gaspard or the 3rd Rachmanninof Concerto.
Pelicans at Cumana Fish Plant - 4
From these examples, we can begin to get a grasp on the extremes of photography – at one end might be a photograph of a completely white wall (sounds a bit boring, but none the less possible), and the opposite a photograph completely muddled with details, clutter, disorder, inconsonant colors, harsh lines, and an overall sense of chaos.
Ocean Beach view of a fisherman and Ledge Light
The obvious next questions are 1) by adding color, form, hue and tone to our completely minimalist white composition, at what point does it become interesting and yet remain minimalist? and 2) if we find the chaos of a maximalist composition equally unappealing as a white canvas, how much of the chaos must we discard to arrive at an pleasing composition?
Janice in her kayak
I don’t have the answers to these questions and don’t believe it would be possible to establish a universal standard.  That is why we call it art rather than science.
Have fun, and go make some great photography!

1 comment:

  1. I am a bit of a 'hit and miss' an amateur photographer. I have had no inspiration these past few months. I have dabbled with all sorts of things. I was chatting with a friend of mine who showed me your site and now i know what interests me "Minimalism!" Thanks. Peter