Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Lake Champlain, Vermont

Lake Champlain, frozen over, with a group of three people in the distance walking on it.

I had a bit of trouble with this week’s WP photo challenge, “Minimalist,” especially with the idea of a “subject that’s able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer.” Perhaps my dilemma centers around the question of what, exactly, is the subject of my chosen photo.

  • Is it the people walking on frozen Lake Champlain? If so, then the idea of negative space works. But, as a subject, they are not able to “stand on their own” as they are just too small.
  • Is it frozen Lake Champlain? I shot this photo because of the frozen lake. But then the subject of the photo IS the negative space.

In the end, I don’t think I technically succeeded in meeting the parameters of a “minimalist” photo. I think the concept is more about a compelling, isolated subject. Thanks, Jen Hooks, for creating a wonderful challenge this week, one that has made me ponder “negative space.” I will definitely continue to work on this in my photography.

Visit this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge for more on what constitutes minimalist photos and for submissions from others.

19 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

  1. Well Stacy, the previous comments are much more in depth than mine will be. My eye was drawn to the people and to the title as I love Vermont. Minimalist? I’m not the one to judge … but I do like this! How’s that for a minimalist response?

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  2. Hmm, I know what you mean. When I look at the picture, my eye is first drawn to the people and out of the corner of my eye, I can see the two sets of logs. I like the grouping of 3 things, but I think I wish they were in a connectable line so that the eye glides smoothly. I get this sometimes – when I really like a picture but don’t know which way to make it a great picture. Someone should give me a lesson on cropping compositions !

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    • Hey, SC! I had to laugh when I got to your “grouping of 3 things.” πŸ˜€ I remember your posts about that! Yeah, the leading line issue was something I don’t remember affirmatively thinking about. I was pretty firmly rooted in place on the dock (which ran parallel to the lake), with nothing in the foreground but those pylons off to the side. Had I thought about leading lines, then the question would have been whether I would have had the courage to walk over to them πŸ˜‰ As it was, most of my photos were throwaways, as I just didn’t know how best to capture the essence of the scene I was seeing (and the lighting was also fading, and I knew next to nothing about how to shoot in those conditions). I actually did try cropping the image to focus more on the people, but the original was full of noise and, as you mentioned, I didn’t have a solution that jumped out at me. I think that’s because it actually is a landscape shot, though the pylons and people definitely play a roll in providing scale and illustrating that the lake is truly frozen over. In the end, this probably wasn’t the best choice for the challenge, but it sure has proven educational! Thanks so much for your input. I really do appreciate it!

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  3. Great photo Stacy, at first I thought the wooden pylons were the main objects then I saw the people. Does the main subject have to stand out more than anything else to be the main subject?? I quite like that it took my eye a little time to find them by following the wooden poles leading me in. Its like finding your best chocolate amongst a whole boxful. It might not be obvious straight away but sure held my interest and I’m going back to have another look as I’m not sure if the wooden poles are really high or the people are really small or its just the distance between them. It is a very interesting photo and being minimalist you must have done something very right to hold our attention πŸ™‚

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    • Karen, I really appreciate your very thoughtful reply and the time you took to craft it. Your question about the main subject standing out is exactly the issue I had as I rethought my choice of this photo for the challenge. This shot really is all about the landscape; I included for visual interest and scale the pylons (which really were quite tall as they are mooring posts for boats) and the people (who really were quite far out on the frozen lake). I thought it important to the story of the photo to include people in the shot. Actually, there were quite a lot of people walking on the ice, many making their way out to the jetty to sit and watch the sunset.

      So, is this a minimalist photo? I’m still not sure. How I would love to have another chance to shoot this scene though. After admiring and being schooled by all your wonderful water and landscape images, I could envision capturing it with a wide-angle lens from a different angle, perhaps using the pylons in the foreground as the anchor. Of course, the wide angle would exacerbate the smallness of the people (if I understand what I’ve been reading), but showing them in the shot is a large part of the story. Such a dilemma, which I’m sure you could solve in a heartbeat!

      Thanks for such wonderful feedback!

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      • I think a wide angle lens would have lost the significance of the people as you say. I really like your photo, it is so interesting. I feel it is minimalist as the tone is pretty monochrome, it has a lot of space in between the subjects which are minimal and the amount of subjects is/are quite small. I feel you ticked all the boxes for this assignment. I don’t think I could have solved it any better and maybe would not have taken advantage of such a remarkable view as you have. Remember I am not a technical photographer, I use the phrase “wing and a prayer” for a reason πŸ™‚ lol.

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        • “Wing and a prayer”? Nope, you can’t convince me of that. And you know why? Because your photos are consistently wonderful πŸ™‚ That’s not winging it; that’s knowing what you’re doing! But thanks for liking this photo so much, Karen. That makes me happy πŸ˜€

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