Assignment 6: Less Is More
Previous Assignment: Action!
A basic rule of composition is that less is more. If the picture is busy, it's not very interesting. Everywhere we look in life we see busy scenes; it's the photographer's job to isolate a small piece of beauty in all of it.
If an element in the picture doesn't add to it, then it detracts from it.
With this assignment, I want you to take this compositional rule to the extreme. I want you to do minimalist photography. Here are some examples:
As you can see, when you're working in minimalism, you have to be technically perfect. Any small flaw becomes a huge flaw. The rule of thirds becomes more important than it ever could be in any other type of photography. This makes minimalism the most difficult style of photography.
But forcing yourself to work in minimalism will do wonders for your photographic skills. You'll be forced to look closer at things that you would normally pass by. You'll be forced to get all the technical issues exactly right. And when you see your results, I bet you'll be pleased. Anyone can make a picture of a flower speak to people, but someone who can make a picture of a garage door or a trash can interesting is a good photographer indeed.
For more examples, try these pages:
The Minimalist group on Flickr has some good minimalist photography in it.
The Secret Minimalists' Club on Flickr is a bit more exclusive, so the quality of the pictures is higher (although as I publish this there is at least one blatantly non-minimalist pic of a tree on the front page).
And finally, for a really good minimalism experience, check out David Fokos, my favorite photographer. This guy is one of the elite few that can actually make a living off of fine art photography. Don't expect to be able to do anything as good as he's done (he uses a large format camera that allows him to take really long exposures).
After you check those out, go out, shoot, and share!
Next Assignment: Putting It in Perspective