Lens-Artists Challenge – Minimalism/Maximalism

I remember when I first got a digital camera, I was fascinated with the possibilities that opened with each click. At the same time, I started my presence online, sharing those photos, shyly, almost fearful of the reactions I would get. And excitement too. This photo made me change a considerable number of concepts I had when I switched to digital.

I liked it, obviously, it was a photo of a very nice house. I clicked and that was it. And yet, people with a lot more experience than myself were taken by it, by its simplicity. By capturing that moment, I had done much more than just to walk away. It’s a notion I still follow today, the simple things can be as notable as the more intricate ones.

The challenge is called Minimalism/Maximalism. It could also be Simplicity/Complexity or Sparce/Full. It’s up to you to how you approach this challenge. I’ve selected a few examples covering both and against each other, but I realized, minimalism is my favourite. Which one is yours? You can focus on just one of them or both.

Firstly, we can approach this challenge relating to spaces. I like this one as it shows how the surroundings can make a big impact. The picture on the left shows how the National Coach Museum in Lisbon used to be, in the old Royal Riding School. The one on the right, the new purpose-built museum. More space means better views of this amazing collection of antique coaches but for me it’s too clean, the ambience we could find in the old museum removed.


Although it is easier to be found in Art, Minimalism or Maximalism examples can be found everywhere. The next two photos show this opposition in Nature, not only in the settings but on the types of butterflies too. I know there is a great deal of luck in these two shots, but they show how this challenge can also be interpretated. 


Some periods in time are more flamboyant than others. The Baroque period is probably one of the best examples of excessive decoration and a sense of awe. Money and power were demonstrated by increasingly outrageous works of art, as seen on this coach from the museum mentioned above or this small chapel in Lisbon. Nothing screams more maximalism than gold…!


Other periods are known for the simplicity of its lines. Modern architecture in the 1960’s is great for a minimalist photo, where there’s little distractions from the main subject.


Snowy landscapes, where there’s little colour and detailing create a very simple and yet effective image. This one perhaps has more going on than a pure minimalist photo, but I still think it works.


A single flower against a clean background can be as beautiful as a field full of them.


I realize if you’re unfamiliar with minimalist photography and google it, none of my examples, bar from these next ones, fit entirely the bill. This challenge is more of a starting point on considering full or sparse environments and how both can prove to be interesting subjects.


To finish, I’d like to share the photo that inspired me to set this challenge. In a special place like the Alhambra in Granada, where the intricate decoration is world famous, the artistry of the carvings exceptional, I found this passage and it blew my mind away.


I would like to thank Ann-Christine for the wonderful challenge last week. The response was magnificent, so many inspiring triptychs! As for this week, I invite you to think of which fits your narrative best, simplicity or “more is more”, minimalism or maximalism, or does it depend on your subject? I’m looking forward to see what you come up with and I hope you enjoy joining this Lens-Artists Challenge. As always, use the Lens-Artists tag and link to this post so we can easily find you. Next week the ever brilliant Anne at Slow Shutter Speed will host so make sure to have a look.

If you want more information about the Lens-Artists Challenge, please click here.

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131 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge – Minimalism/Maximalism

  1. I love it. You have a distinction eye for photography, Sophia and I live how you shared the journey to your style here. I too love minimalist, but the butterfly on the purple flowers balances both.

    Your first photo of the house is stunning with the red pots, the table is stunning! And I am with you on the Alhambra passageway. Creates wonder and clearly depicts art.

    Very nice. Donna

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your explanation and examples are superb! I love that passage photo too – it’s the light and shadow that add a touch of drama. Also, I agree with you about the coach museum – the older one seems like they belong and are integral rather than on display. This will keep me busy for the week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I must admit when I saw the name of your challenge, I had no idea of what maximal would consist of. Your examples are superb, and make it very clear. I saw the coach exhibit back in its maximal days, and I am so glad – the building which housed the museum was a museum-piece in its own right. I love ALL your minimal shots; each one is so expressive…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right, the old museum was a museum-piece on it’s own. I think it might be open to the public again, but I would need to check it. I’m so happy my post explained the direction I was looking for…

      Like

  4. Excellent photo examples for this challenge, Sofia. I love your minimalist photos. The last one is remarkable, great lighting and perfect angle. Thank you for taking time to explain.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The lighting on that Granada shot is wonderful. Although I love Baroque and OTT- it would be hard to live in Portugal and not! -in photos I often do prefer minimal. Although the atmosphere is better conveyed in the old riding school shot it’s so busy! I love the simplicity of a boat on the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jo. There are wonderful Baroque examples all over Portugal and where you least expect them, which is great fun I think. For me, at has it’s moments, but I also prefer simplicity.

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  6. Lovely photos.

    The ones that are a bit busier are nice in that there’s a good deal of detail without feeling like cluttering.

    Drawn to the bench the most here. It almost feels like it’s just outlines. Also a fan of the space and sense of fading.

    Here’s mine for this one:

    Nighttime Pathway

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really enjoyed your theme this week, Sofia. It really made me think about my preferences in photography and in everyday life for the minimalist point of view. Your photos beautifully express the power and majesty of both. The house with the red planters is a favorite, as well as your gorgeous snowy day and the lone flower. Beautiful and inspiring. What else do we need or want!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A very creative post Sofia, loved your images which really made the point. I can understand why your opening image led you to this path, it’s wonderful. I also loved your first snow image and the flower that immediately follows it. I suppose that makes me a minimimalist!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your starting/last observation is very thoughtful indeed. Most of us look at the Alhambra in terms of its decorative surface, but that’s not what it is of course. At its core it is about dealing with light, air, weather, and using the structure to make a habitat suitable for us. The filtered and reflected light in your photo is a wonderful reminder. Good observation about museums as well. I’m fond of modern galleries, but I’m equally fond of some spaces which have been turned into art galleries: palaces, railway stations, or even power stations.

    Failed dispassion

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So many beautiful examples and such a brilliant way of explaining the theme, Sofia. This is a theme to love – thoroughly. I can understand why that first image is a love and a success…a photo to rest ones eyes on. And the last one, from Alhambra, cannot but blow us away too. I am still thinking…what to post for you? Let me see…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank You, Sofia, for a very interesting theme – I will post tomorrow morning. Hope you will enjoy it – maybe I made it too difficult for myself, but I learned somethings new about myself and the meaning of my words.

        Liked by 1 person

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