There are many ways to make a statement, be it with pictures or with words. I have no issues with making bold, obvious statements. There is nothing wrong with the obvious. I have done that many times with bold, color saturated sunrises and sunsets with my photography, and with equally bold, color saturated statements with my words. Is it obvious that I equate sharing (and making) images with sharing words? A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but they are always accompanied by words for a reason.
With all of that said, understatement is an often ignored or misunderstood art form. In both words and pictures. Would it surprise you that I use understatement in my writings more frequently than the “over the head” bludgeoning that I use sometimes?
In photography, understatement is called minimalist or minimalism. It should be called the same in writing. There is an art to overstatement when done right, and an art to understatement. That is true in photography and writing.
Montana Lake. Merely labeling this image Montana Lake is a minimalist description, for a minimalist work of art (my opinion).
Thanks to Flickr pal and contributor to the Earth Images group, David Renwald for this over the top example of understatement also known as minimalism. This is one of my favorite forms of image making. Less is more, in more ways than one. This “minimal” image, jumped off the pages of Flickr when I saw it.
The pictures below are both mine, and antiquated.
Hundreds of lines going in every direction, is the antitheses of Minimal. Yet by adding some symmetry (a rare case when it is good), and a singular main focal point, the image with more becomes less, which is more. Whew!!
Even when landscape images have a lot of colors and textures going on, and ordered composition will simplify the contrasts. It’s true that less is more, but more can also be less.
Today’s post is by no means all about minimalism, but the lesson learned is that simplifying the confusing, is good, as is photographing the simple.
Dozens of strands of a gull feather is a lot, and a thousand grains of sand is even more. But take one surf covered feather in the middle of a bunch of sand, and it becomes simple.
Of course how much or how little, is not the “do all” and “end all” of picture making.
A fire in the sky. I’ve always found skies to be a worthy subject in a of themselves. This one was exceptional.
This image of a Black-capped Chickadee drinking from a bird bath, is a great example of how equipment has changed. This is a fairly large crop, and my old Nikon D80 produced so much background noise at only ISO 200, that I softened that background a full 8 rounds with Photoshop.
I’ve never shared this image before. I suppose I thought it to be too mundane or ordinary. Not enough impact. When I look at it today, I can see the photographic wheels that were turning inside my head back in 2008 when I made it. Sometimes it’s a lonely world even for flies.
For those of you who are active bird photographers, hopefully you have had a good spring and early summer with warblers. Yellow Warblers are among my favorites and this one from 2006 brings back fond memories. He stayed for quite a while and seemed to enjoy my presence. It was a good, and simple (minimal?) day.
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way if he gets angry, he’ll be a mile away and barefoot. – unknown