31 July, 2014

Misread by People

Minimalism as Less Elements

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

"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.  

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
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A black and white Minimalist Photo of a small bird trying to hide behind a street light.

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
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A Black and White Minimalist Photo of Side view of Dual staircase openings in a building.

This Minimal 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
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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

A Abstract Minimalist Photo comprising of the Rays of the setting sun falling on top of the roof of a car, creating an abstract sunset image.

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.

To Buy framed prints of my work head over to this section: Buy Minimalist Photos

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. This is where Minimalism could seep in.

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 as now your mind is almost like an empty slate with only the necessary data to hold. When such a mind depicts itself via Minimalist Photography, the results are usually 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

Minimalist Photography 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 Minimalist Photography 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 Type of Minimalism for better comprehension.

1) Minimalism as Less Elements

Explanation: Here one isolated singular subject can be used as the primary subject, 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% at least the majority of the attention of the viewer 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 aka the Gray Pipe, which shares less attention, as it is of the same color as the wall. The number of elements in this Minimalist Photograph are limited to two and focus on them has been enhance or redirected by using a lot of empty or 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 as core in a Minimalist Photograph. Ideally, keep at least two to three colors in the palette, if not more. At the same time you must try to restrict the overall elements in the frame. Keep it simple.  


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 aka Minimal in size, in comparison to the overall elements within the frame. Such Minimalist Photographs remind us of how Minuscule our existence is in this Infinite Universe.


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 are some of the Basic Geometric Shapes one can use in such Minimalist Photographs. One does not need to use all of these shapes within a Single Photograph. You can use one or more or maybe even many of these, till the time you keep the Photograph as decluttered as possible. 


A Minimalist Photo of the side railing of a staircase.
Photo by © Prakash Ghai - (Minimalism as Simple Geometry)
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Like in the above example, I have used only "1 Line or Line" aka the Side-Railing of a staircase, as my only Subject. I could have used multiple lines as well by including the Steps. Those steps could also have been be looked upon as more Lines and Rectangles (again simple geometric shapes). 

5) Minimalism as Parts of the Whole

Explanation: In such kind of Minimalist Photographs, a lot is left to the Imagination of the viewer. Here, we only show a part or a snippet of the main subject to the viewer and make him imagine the whole/rest of it. This creates a sense of Mystery about the subject and therefore, this is a great way to make the viewer engage and connect with the Minimalist Photograph.


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 mainly Basic Geometrical Shapes (ideally) fall under this category of Minimalist Photography. Let's take an example 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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In the above Photograph, you can see 6 Windows on a Wall. These Windows have perfect basic Geometric Shapes aka Rectangles, and they are in repetition and placed in a symmetrical manner, depicting some kind of order. 

7) Minimalism as Low Detail

Explanation: Such Minimalist Photos generally carry very Low Detail. Most of the details are intentionally left out. This lack of detail engages the view quite well and are generally thought provoking. These images are not Abstract in nature, one can still relate the subject depicted to real life/world. 


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: In such Minimalist Photographs the subject may not be directly pointed at by the Photographer. The viewer  of the Photograph is intentionally made to guess what the actual subject might be or how the photographer wants him to move his eye visually in the frame. The elements may or may not be clearly identifiable or relatable to any real world object/reference at first glance or maybe even later. Such photos can also be compared with abstracts and in some circumstances they can also be categorized as Abstract Minimalism.


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 of Minimalist Photographs help in explaining each Type of Minimalism in Photography. 

Before you start capturing your first few Minimalist Photographs, I would also suggest you to read my other post Train your Eyes for Minimalist Photography. 

Subscribe to my Blog via e-mail Click here

--- Now you can also enroll for Online Classes on Minimalist Photography via Zoom or Google Meet. Click here: Online Classes

More on Minimalist Photography:


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Contact e-mail: prakashghai@gmail.com 

27 July, 2014

What is Minimalist Photography?

The Question isWhat is Minimalist Photography?

Minimalist Photography is basically Photography done using as few elements as possible within a frame and leaving out clutter or that which is not required. This, in turn gives the subject amplified attention and helps in creating clean, less busy and visually soothing to look at Minimalist Photographs.

Minimalist Photography takes its inspiration directly from Minimalism. 

I am not going to make you deep-dive into the History of Minimalism but here is how it started in-short.

Minimalism that literally means "Minimum" or Reduced to Bare Essentials, started as a Reductive Art Movement in the 1950's in United States lead by Minimalist Painter "Frank Stella", who once famously said about his paintings "What you see is what you see."

We can conclude, Minimalism anchors Simplicity at its core and It is based on the principle: "That which is less complicated is better understood."

In Minimalist Photography, we follow this core Philosophy.

We must Keep in mind, that the resulting Photograph must ensure Tremendous Visual clarity and Enhanced or Amplified attention to the core subject.

We can use a combination of One or More of the following Key Elements of a Minimalist Photograph to achieve our goal.

  • Lines
  • Shapes
  • Patterns
  • Symmetry
  • Geometry
  • Isolated Subjects
  • Strong Colors
  • Sharp Color Contrasts
  • Negative Space
  • Repetition

Another way to look at Minimalist Photography could be simply:

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

OK, Enough of Theory, Now, lets take an Example of a Minimalist Photograph that I took, with the use of  some basic Minimalist Photography principles and 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 Pieces of Broken Glass on a boundary wall is placed in the bottom 1/3rd of the frame, while 2/3rd of the frame (top) is left empty. That empty space is Negative Space and it is used primarily to make the eyes lead to the subject.

- Not all Minimalist Photos use Negative Space as shown above. There are different Types of Minimalism in Minimalist Photography which I shall explain in my coming posts.

-- I also have a Visual Representation of some of my Minimalist Photographs in the form of a Slideshow that I have posted on my YouTube Channel. Click here to view --> Minimalist Video

-- Minimalist Photographs are "Simple" to look at but very difficult to make. You need to change your perspective to compose nice Minimalist Frames. It also requires some change of perspective to see things from the Minimalist Photographer's perspective. To train your eyes and start seeing subjects in term of shapes, please read Train your Eyes for Minimalist Photography article.

-- It is also possible that Minimalist Photography as a genre is not meant for you, as you are currently in a very different phase of life than me or other Minimalist Photographers. Find out which Phase of Life you are currently in, that could also help you find the best suited Photography Genre you.

Minimalist Photography Camera Gear

A lot of people ask me as to what Camera Gear I use to capture Minimalist Photos and what Camera Gear they should use for it.

To be honest, you do not need a Special Camera Gear, your regular Camera Kit or even your Phone Camera is enough to capture Minimalist Photographs.

Sure, one thing you do need is the Eye to See and see things in a different manner.

Anyways, I currently use a Canon 6D Mark II Full frame Camera and 50 mm prime and 100 mm prime lens to capture most of my Minimalist Photographs.

To view the complete list of all the equipment I use, click here: Camera Gear

Subscribe to my Blog via e-mail Click here

Now you can also enroll for Online Classes on Minimalist Photography. Click here: Online Classes

Must Read:

Exploring Suppressed Inner Creativity via Minimalist Photography

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