Minimalism is a very interesting trend in contemporary photography. If you approach minimalism in the right way, pictures taken in this manner will become very, very expressive. How to understand minimalism, what techniques to use to create beautiful photos and much more will be covered in this article. Alexander Vershinin is with you, have a comfortable seat and we are beginning.
1. What is minimalism?
Minimalism is a style applied not only to photography. Many artists around the world have worked and are still working in minimalism. The main essence of minimalism is to use as few components as possible in everything: in form, in lines, in color, in the surface texture of objects, which are also a minimum in the depicted space. Minimalism is a rather subjective concept. It leaves a wide space for the viewer’s perception of the work. Each viewer can put his own meaning into a photo or other work of art.
Some people like the openness of minimalism, the idea of freedom, others do not understand its boldness, the lack of clear meaning. But for the photographer, unlike, for example, the painter, this problem is to a lesser extent, because the pictures depict real objects from our everyday life, moments of real life. But the photographer can apply the principles and techniques of minimalism to enhance the psychological impact of his work on the viewer.
2. Pursuit of Simplicity
The main hallmark of minimalism is the desire for simplicity. But this does not mean that the photo should be boring and not interesting to anyone. Simply take as a nature an object that attracts attention, that is interesting in itself. This object should be the main element of your frame, even if it does not occupy its main area. Before you press the shutter you have to think about what you want to include in the frame, and what you want to leave out of the frame. The space surrounding the main subject should accentuate the importance of that subject. So all that distracts attention – you have to ruthlessly cut it off.
3. Compositional solutions
One of the basic principles of minimalism is a strong composition. As mentioned above, you need to remove everything unnecessary from the frame. Leaving everything unnecessary outside the frame is no less important than including the most necessary things in the picture. That’s why you have to devote a lot of time to composition and carefully consider the main subject and everything that surrounds it. This is where the “rule of thirds” comes in. It helps to properly compose the frame. A strong composition usually includes rectangular elements and lines. (on that – later) But, nevertheless, strong shapes and lines should be avoided because they can distract attention from the main object. And in general, this object should focus the attention of both his and the viewer. This is basically what attracts his gaze and dramatically increases the psychological impact.
One of the most important factors in the impact on the viewer in minimalism is color. This “tool” is very important and very useful for creating a minimalist picture. To put it simply, in a minimalist picture there can be no object as such, but color and texture play the role. The brighter the color, the more expressive the picture. You have to learn how to use light to emphasize color in your work. In real life, it’s hard to find a scene with only one color. Then look for scenes whose colors either complement each other or work on each other in contrast.
5. Lines in the frame
Just like color, line plays an important role in minimalism. A strong composition is created by well-defined horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. It is as if they become a compositional basis for the image, giving its structural strength and stability. The technique of using lines to direct the viewer’s eye in the right direction, which works in all types of fine art, is also applicable in minimalism. Pay attention to. Where the lines lead in your composition – from the edge to the center or vice versa. Then you’ll understand whether it helps the viewer’s perception of your idea or not.
Minimalism is not only about the color, it’s also about texture, the texture of the subject. Just like color, texture can replace the subject itself. To accentuate texture, it’s not only important to choose an interesting surface, but also to photograph it the right way. Look closely, see if the texture has a definite direction, and base your composition on that. It’s a good idea to use light to accentuate texture. With the right lighting, you can achieve an almost physical sense of texture, like the warmth of wood or the coolness of a stone wall.
7. Look for inspiration around you
After you gradually immerse yourself in the study of minimalism, learn to feel it, you will notice minimalism around you, in your regular, everyday life. Look out for open spaces, monochrome areas, objects that catch your eye, clear lines, and geometric shapes of objects. Look around, at the world around you, through the eyes of a minimalist. Your observations will not be in vain. You might start with walls and fences, doors, or anything geometrically correct, textured objects.
Further computer processing of photos in a minimalist manner should also be simple. Even at the stage of shooting you should know, clearly imagine what you want to achieve, see the result of your work. The main thing is that this result should be impressive. In search of surrealism, you can distort the subject beyond recognition, and experiment with other techniques. Freedom of creativity is also possible at this stage of work. Nevertheless, in minimalism it is customary to keep the subject realistic and process it only to enhance the psychological impact on the viewer.
9. Create a narrative
After you have mastered the basic techniques in minimalism with lines, color, texture and other elements of artistic expression, you can begin to move further, to perfect your skills. Try, for instance, to use minimalism in your photography to tell a story or reproduce a scene, using the whole arsenal of minimalism. In order to succeed in that, you have to learn how to work with light, to attract the viewer’s interest in moving objects. And then, sometime at your leisure, think about whether you can summarize all the work you’ve done through just one image made in the manner of minimalism. The result may surprise you.
10. Self-development and creative exploration
So now you know a little about minimalism in photography, you know what principles it is based on. You learned the basic techniques of work in this genre. And now look for it! Look for minimalism all around you! Take simple and interesting pictures. Don’t be afraid to create and experiment. But do not forget that the perception of minimalism is very subjective. And that means that what you create and will be considered a masterpiece, will not always appeal to others. Take the criticism philosophically and do not get upset over nothing!