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Minimalism in Photography and Life

Often new photographers will write to me and ask me to have a look at their photo galleries and give them some feedback. In doing so I have noticed a recurring theme. People try to include too much in their images. They have tried to capture the grand scene, everything they see in front of them, all in one frame. It is visually confusing without one distinct subject.

One technique I have found useful is to isolate each thing in the scene that draws my attention and photograph it alone. Make each subject is own image and when you put them together they will tell a story. In essence, practice minimalism.

When I visited White Sands National Monument in New Mexico it seemed the perfect opportunity to practice minimalism in my own photography.

The Monument is great white dunes made of gypsum, the same stuff they make drywall with although it looks like sand. If you haven’t been here it might seem like minimalism is the only option, but really there are all sorts of little grasses and dead trees (or at least they were in their winter state), plants, trails marked with sticks, footprints leading everywhere and all kinds of other things to distract one’s attention.

I tried to make the images simple by focusing on one thing alone. This image focussed only on shape.

There are more images from White Sands National Monument on the blog today:
http://annemckinnell.com/2012/04/30/minimalism-in-photography-and-life/

#ministractmonday curated by +Tom McLaughlan
#minimalmonday curated by +Olivier Du Tré
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6 comments
 
I see 'worm sign'.
 
Such great advice, I was doing some reviews this weekend at Calumet and I had the same experience. A lot of the photographers had a good eye and great sense of composition but they were putting too much in the image. Wonderful image to go along with this post.
 
The patterns in the sand are mesmerizing, just beautiful.
 
This shot is very reminiscent of the surreal desert sequence from Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I can almost see Eli Wallach riding the horse with the pink parasol across the horizon line.
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