31 July, 2014

Misread by People

Minimalism as Less Elements

"Sometimes you feel that you've been "Misread" by a lot of people and you need some time on your own alone in the park, sitting on the bench reflecting back on life." In this composition I have applied two rule of thirds. One at the bottom and one on the left. Therefore there is plenty of negative space both above the bench and also to the right, to add that classic minimalist feel. A green bench against a large yellow wall is an Ideal setting. To being with, what made me attracted towards the bench, was the subtle light and shadow differential on the wall. It was just too beautiful to look at. Maybe you could also find this, if you visit Jantar Mantar, Jaipur.  

A Minimalist Photo of a Green bench against a yellow wall at Jantar Mantar, Jaipur.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - Buy Now

Unsuccessful Camouflage

Minimalism as in Small Objects

A Black and White Minimalist Photo of a Bird trying to hide behind on a street light.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai Buy Now

The Bird looks as if it was trying hide behind the light by Camouflaging. This is Minimalism as in Small objects. As you can see here the size of the bird is extremely small and that is the primary subject. To achieve the small size, a simple way is, not to get too close to the subject and shoot from a distance. The white background you see is the clear blue sky which I have de-saturated via photo editing. To add a bit of spice to the image I turned the camera in my hand to so that the street lamp tilted a little to the left and that added a sense of movement to the image. 

30 July, 2014

Dual Staircases

Minimalism as Simple Geometry

A Black and White Minimalist Photo of Side view of Dual staircase openings in a building.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - Buy Now

This shot was taken with Canon 55-250 mm lens in Swej Farm, Jaipur. These staircases were about 50-60 feet away from me and I had to zoom in a lot and also use a little higher shutter speed to avoid blur. I do not use a tripod, somehow I find it very inconvenient and of course I am lazy. So to rescue my shots I usually shoot Raw + JPEG and use the RAW file to clear out the slight blur by extracting more details and adding some sharpness. Initially, I shot only the first staircase solo in landscape version, but that looked a bit uninteresting. Two of them in a portrait version, was the frame that I was looking for. The geometry looked extremely appealing when I paired up the staircases.

Black and White Minimalism

Minimalism Type: Less Elements

A Black and White Minimalist Photo of a Torn cloth hanging over an old wooden thatch roof
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - Buy Now

Black and White Minimalist Photography using Less Elements and negative space to amplify the attention on the subject. To compose, I placed the subject on the right, where I have primarily  interpreted the subject as intersecting lines. The torn hanging cloth adds to a bit of a story or lets say art effect to the image. To Edit this and make it look this way, one needs to simply slide up both the contrast and the brightness slider. The contrast slider a lot more, that makes the background almost disappear and makes the subject stand out. Note: don't overdo it but. 

The Setting Sun

Minimalism Type: Zeroism

An Abstract Minimalist Photo of the Rays of the setting sun on a cars roof.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai

This shot was taken on a late evening, while I was just outside the main gate of my house. The sun was about to set in in about 20 minutes. I spotted this unique imagery being created through its slanting rays being reflected on the roof of the car about two feet away. I decided to zoom in a bit and boom, I had this wonderful Sunset Zeroism photograph. Such kind of subjects, either you spot or you dont. It comes with a lot practice.

As a Minimalist it takes a lot time, developing a vision related to the 8 Types of Minimalism mentioned in the blog. Practice is Key. This took about 10 minutes to edit. I increased the vibrancy and a bit of saturation. Also, some bit of sharpness was added. 

28 July, 2014

Phases of Life and Photography: & where "Minimalism" fits in.

In general, we all experience Three phases in Life.

Phase   I: Accumulation

Phase  II: Moderation

Phase: III: Shedding

Phase I: Accumulation

By accumulation I mean the race for material gratification in objects like cars, bikes, mobiles, gadgets, jewellery, luxurious houses, vacations etc and money in general. In this phase one wants to accumulate as much as he/she can or all of what is possibly available.

This is probably a good phase to try some wide-angle nature/landscape photography, where one can try and included as many elements as possible in the frame reflecting "accumulation". Now you may ask why only Nature or Landscape Photography?

Because in the accumulation phase you are still searching for beauty and perfection and the ideal world you want to live in. You are not yet bored of it. So this is an ideal form for people who identify themselves in this phase.

This identification does help, as once you identify the phase of your life you are currently in and align it with the kind of photography that you do, it will give you fantastic results.

Please See: Be it Photography or be it Art, it is all but a reflection of the photographer's/ artist's mind and what is he/she is currently experiencing in life and the phase he/she is passing through.  

A landscape photo of the Reflection of buildings in water.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai
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Phase II: Moderation 

In the second phase i.e the phase of Moderation there is a sense of realization that what you already have or have accumulated is sufficient or maybe a little more than required but you are happy with it. You are content and free from the everyday struggle of making ends meet. You also have certain luxuries in life and the business is well managed and looked after by the staff.

If you find yourself in this phase you could probably try out some Wildlife or Street Photography as you now have some free time to go out and see how other people live or how the jungle life is.

A street photo of a trader in Pushkar Ajmer - Rajasthan
Photo by © Prakash Ghai
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Phase III: Shedding

It is only when you have reached Phase III is when you realize that you need to do away with all the Extra stuff that you have. Your understanding towards the benefits of "less" increases by the day and it starts reflecting in your personality. It is now that you really understand the importance of simplicity over luxury. The new luxury for you now is Convenience which is a by-product of simplicity. You also now have more time for yourself and have most of the answers of life that you have been looking for all your life.

This is a good time to look at doing Minimalist Photography or perhaps abstracts. As now your mind is almost like an empty slate with only the necessary data to hold, the results would be fantastic.

A Black and white Minimalist Photo of Sea dock used as a curve & still water as negative space.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai
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Note: Age is not a criteria here, you could be in any phase depending on your personality and perspective about life in general.

Right angled Triangle Vs the Square

Minimalism as Simple Geometry 

A Black and White Minimalist Photo of Square and a Triangle at Jawahar Kala Kendra Jaipur.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai
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I have used light and shadow here to highlight the geometry in the frame. The core of the photo involves two basic shapes.

a) Square and 
b) Triangle. 

Also, if you observe closely, there is another square being formed within the primary square, because of the light and shadow game-play. The shadow triangle on the bottom left acts as the supporting actor like in films, for the main lead i.e the Square. Keeping the photo to monochrome is always preferable when shooting Minimalism as Simple Geometry as all the shapes and lines get accentuated. The visual impact is more.

Other Minimalist Photos that also contain a Square:

Circle Square Waves

Lines Vs Square

White Square

10 Squares

Types Of Minimalism

I will take each one of these sub-types one by one and lay-down my interpretations of the same. I will also included photo examples for each of them for better comprehension.

1) Minimalism as Less Elements

Explanation: Here one isolated singular subject can be used so that it receives 100% percent attention span. A secondary supporting subject can also be used to enhance the composition but it should be made sure that if not 100% but the majority of the attention span remains with the primary subject.


A Minimalist Photo of Red and gray steel water pipe on a gray wall.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as Less Elements)
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As you can see above I have used a primary subject i.e the red pipe and a supporting subject which shares less attention as it is of the same color as the wall. The number of elements here are limited to two and focus on them has been drawn by using a lot of empty space (negative space).

2) Minimalism as Few Distinctive Colors

Explanation: You can also use a mix of few contrasting colors, primarily forming some shapes, patterns or lines. Ideally, keep at least two to three colors in the palette, if not more. At the same time try to restrict the overall elements in the frame.   


A Minimalist Photo of yellow red and white wall
Photo By © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism using Few Distinctive Colors)
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3) Minimalism as in Small Objects 

Explanation: This form of minimal is literal in nature where the subject shown is very small in size in comparison to the total frame. Such frames remind us of how miniscule our existence is in the infinite universes.


A black and white Minimalist Photo of a Bird walking on the railing of a terrace.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as in Small Objects)
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4) Minimalism as Simple Geometry

Explanation:  Use of simple geometric shapes such as circles, lines, curves, squares, cylinder, rectangles, triangles etc comprise of such frames.


A Minimalist Photo of the side railing of a staircase.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as Simple Geometry)
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In the above example "Line" as a simple geometric shape has been used.

5) Minimalism as Parts of the Whole

Explanation: A lot is left to the imagination of the viewer here. In such photos snippets or only a part of the whole subject is photographed making the viewer guess the rest of the shape (whole). This creates a sense of mystery about the subject which results is more engagement.


A Minimalist Photo of the Arcs of a astronomical instrument at Jantar Mantar Jaipur
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as Parts of the Whole)
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6) Minimalism as in Repeating Shapes

Explanation: Images comprising of symmetrical repetition of shapes fall under this category. Lets take an example below to better understand this.


A Minimalist Photo of Multi Colored windows in repetition.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as in Repeating Shapes)
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7) Minimalism as Low Detail

Explanation: Such photos generally carry very less detail and are thought provoking. They leave a lot for the viewers imagination. One could still relate the subject to the real world and complete the picture in his mind.


A Black and White Minimalist Photo of an Old man and his friend rowing a boat, lost in the sea.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as Low Detail)
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8) Zeroism

Explanation: The subject may not be directly pointed at. The viewer is kept guessing on how the eye should move visually in the frame. The elements may or may not relate to any real world object/reference. Such photos can also be compared with abstracts.


A Black and white Minimalist Photo of Blurred abstract shapes behind a plastic curtain.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Zerosim)
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Source: https://sites.google.com/site/minimalismgroup/define

I hope the above examples and theory helps. Before you begin taking your Minimal photos I would suggest you also read my other post Train your Eyes for Minimalist Photography.

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27 July, 2014

What is Minimalist Photography?

The Question is, What is Minimalist Photography / Minimalism or Minimal Art?

Well, it is basically photography done using as few elements as possible within a frame. This, in turn gives the subject amplified attention. Tremendous visual clarity/emphasis on the subject is the primary goal here.

Minimalism anchors, simplicity at its core. It is based on the principle: "that which is less complicated is better understood." The use of lines, shapes, patterns, symmetry, geometry or isolated subjects, result in powerful minimalist images, that leave a lasting visual impact on the viewer.

Some of the ways by which Visual Clarity/Clear Focus/Amplified attention on the subject, can be achieved include:

a) Cropping the frame, and thereby doing away with the unnecessary.
b) Using *negative space (*empty space which is not required ) to redirect attention back towards the subject.
c) Making the subject repeat in the entire frame .

Another way of looking at minimalist photography is:

Minimalist Photography = Minimalism (as a concept) + Visual Art (the art of making something visually appealing within a particular landscape/frame)

Now, lets take an example of a Minimalistic photo that I took, with the use of negative space.

A Minimalist Photo of broken glass wall fence
Minimalist Photography by © Prakash Ghai
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If you see above, the subject is placed in the bottom 1/3rd of the frame while 2/3rd of the frame (top) is left empty, used primarily to make the eyes lead to the subject which here is the random placement of broken glasses on the wall.

Not all Minimal photos use negative space as shown above. There are different Types of Minimal photos which I shall explain in my coming posts, alternatively you can begin by first seeing a Minimalist Video of select minimal photos. Minimalist photos are the most "Simple" to look at but very difficult to take. You need to change your perspective to compose nice Minimalistic frames. I would suggest that you Train your Eyes for it before you begin.

It is also possible that Minimalist Photography as a genre is not meant for you.

Find out which Phase of Life you are currently in, to find out the best suited genre of Photography for you.

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