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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