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Here are some studies of "minimalism photographic images".

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Minimalism is a controversial photographic subject. It has been described it as follows: "A style or technique that is characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity. It is loved by some, hated by others"

Many Photographers welcome the openness of the concept, others including myself have a problem with the lack of definition and direction.

It is actually a confusing description as the frame can be filled with say a repeating pattern and still qualify for the classification of minimalism. So keep it simple and remember that simplicity is the key and focus on shapes or repeated patterns preferably those with empty spaces,


 I have seen some lovely B&W images which have lots of detail but the are claimed to be examples of minimalism also lots of busy colour images making the same claim, why I do not know perhaps it is the latest fad to be a minimalist photographer, my friends have been doing this on and off for years. I remember seeing a weed growing between the paving bricks in the newly laid town square, put there by the photographer just for the purpose of taking his photo, turned out to be a great photo


Minimal images are very seldom straight out of the camera they are often the result of careful thought on the part of the photographer in choosing the main subject matter and the background but in the same light to find both subject matter and background and use the image straight from the camera is a challenge.

Hovering over the images will display the title of the image and clicking on will display a larger image



white flower

Above a classical example of a lone flower against a darkening sky  perfect example of minimalism photography


white flower

Above the same image with a little more content but I think it could still be classed as minimal since there is lots of empty space


 Leaves a Minimalism image

Above two leaves on a neutral background, what could be more minimal than this?  Well perhaps the image of part of the old yellow TV Arial that I am using as a banner on this page has even more open space.

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cherries n leaves

Above one of my favourite minimalism studies it depicts a group of cherries and a pair of leaves ( from the previous image) in a complimentary colour with a graduated background, I think all the colours make this a pleasing image even if it is sparse.

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minimalism jetty

Above Minimalism study of the wind turbine, or is it a "surreal study" or perhaps a "photo-art" study or a "composite image"  The only thing I can say for sure is it is a piece of creative photography which would definitely fall into the "PICTORIAL" classification.:  So unless you want to constrict yourself to a series of strict rules I would suggest that you do your own thing and if you think it qualifies for a particular set subject then submit it to that, in other words be an all round photographer not one bound by narrow margins.  This is the philosophy I have adopted and try and see everyone's point when they submit a photo for others to like or dislike the only thing which annoys me is when the sheep say "ooh ah it's great"  just because a particular person exhibited it.


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minimalism jetty

Above this jetty is featured elsewhere on the site but it is in full colour, there is a belief that if you turn the picture into a Black and White image it can be classed as minimalistic but I do not agree with that however if you leave a little colour in the image which is already sparse then it will certainly have claim to qualify in the minimalism category but consider would you call it minimalism, high-key, surrealistic, photo-art,  or what?

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.. choices

Above when making a minimalism photograph or a composite  image of any sort it is helpful if you do several trials and save them in a format which conserves your layers then you can alter colours, size, slant or what ever you want.  I also allows you at a later date use part of that image in another creation above is an example of the same image in three colours, Notice one is flipped horizontally  and one has the lamp added, also the window varies in size.

.. minimalism 1

Above a composite of photographs making up a minimalism image, kind of reminds me of flying mats holding the vase, or perhaps if I flipped it horizontally it could be an airmail envelope. with the window being the stamp.   Most Minimalism photographs have a touch of fantasy about them.  I think this is proved in this image at least considering it is made up of several modified photos.  Also further down the page I have put other artists work which emphasises my point



Below a good simple flower study which for me is what minimalism could be all about. plenty of open space but a sufficiently sized object I personally do not like to see 16X20 prints with less than a square inch occupied with say a seagull   This one could also be classed as High Key since there are very little dark tones in it.

minimalism 1

Move the mouse over the image below for a tip:  the larger image link is further down the page.

turbine What make a photo minimalistic?  Well for me that is a grey area  because every image should be as the "AUTHOR"  wants it so no not rush out and obliterate every thing from you images just to make the minimalistic. Try a few shots compose and crop out un-needed items give it a try but if you don't like it stick to what you prefer.


.. stairway to the sky by Alex Cummings


Above a composition in abstract surrealism which falls into the minimalism class very little content but to me quite a bit of interest is created in what content there is I call this "Stairway to the Sky"  I f you notice that most of this image is made up of a repeating pattern which creates the stairs and clouds while leaving lots of empty space  it has an addition object i.e. the lamp which gives it some interest.

.. sky-n-clouds


Above a lovely cloud formation which is a photograph by it's self but when combined with a yellow and black striped board it falls into the category of minimalism and I personally like this one as a photograph no matter what category it is classed in.

Satelite dish  internet dish













Above are two  Internet Satellite Dishes one has a small dish and a large amount of sky the other a larger dish with a textured background but because of the simplistic composition of the photo both can be classed as simplistic i.e. minimalistic. but the smaller dish is to me more minimalistic so this is my choice to represent the rules of minimalism.




Above are four examples of recognised examples of minimalism note they are not mine.  I selected these because they are definitely  minimalistic  and good examples of minimalism I deliberately did not put any which I thought to be borderline examples by other artists but have used my own for that purpose.


Above an old padlock on a galvanized background


surreal composite photograph


Above a leaf with bud against a patterned background what would you class it as?



Above two car headlights against a variegated background, is it minimalism or surreal or composite, or what?



Above this does not look like a composite image it however is since there were no clouds or bushes in the original photo. shows how one can be fooled .but it still also is still minimalism.  Don't forget to click for larger image.



Above these are two blue flowers and I do not for one minute class this as minimalism although some might due to the very vague description given for this class of photography.  To me it is a nice flower study and that is all.           Why do I say that well the flowers occupy too much of the frame if the were a lot smaller and there was more open space then it would possibly be considered . 

But this is certainly minimalism with two rain drenched flowers and lots of empty space and an interesting background which is empty but not quite bland so a good minimalistic expression of the requirements


layered portrait

Above this photo although the image of the gnome/troll fills most of the frame it is very monochromatic therefore minimalistic, surreal,, composite, ,photo-art and possibly several more categories I put it on here to show some of the work which went into the image below. See my remarks about the flowers and you will see why I do not consider this an example of minimalism.


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minimalism image.

Above although possibly a lot of work went into creating the elements of this photo they are a small portion of the final result in other words minimalistic so an exercise in minimalism has been performed  Notice it uses the gnome/troll from the image preceding this one


a second minimalism image.

Above using similar components as the previous image here is an even more minimalistic image embracing one of the recommendations of bold colouring in the minimalism concept.  The back ground used here is of a similar panelled door this time a stable door as the little gnome/troll is framed with, so you see that even minimalism can make you think about what to photograph.


You will perhaps have noticed that most of the images on this page and for that matter the site have one thing in common  that is they do not have the subject matter plonked slap in the middle of the photo a trend which seems to be creeping into modern day photographs and even a crisp sharp image can vastly improved by the positioning of the subject matter.


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 Photographs and graphics are © & belong to Alex Cummings unless otherwise stated.  More photographs can be found on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alex.cummings.1940/
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