White rope coiled around blue posts on a blue boat
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries

Gallery: keeping it simple

Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art

Frank Lloyd Wright

How often have you said, there’s nothing of interest here to photograph? Not often, I hope! Look at things with a photographer’s eyes and you will almost always find a way to make them look interesting. A broom, a piece of rope, a paintbrush, a few vegetables. All of these and more are food for the hungry camera!

I shared some favourite minimalist shots last year in a previous Lens Artists challenge post. So today, for Mr Philo’s theme of ‘Simplicity’ I’ve decided to focus instead on how the simplest things can often make for an interesting photograph.

I would suggest that this is not quite the same concept as minimalism. It is perfectly possible to take a minimalist photo of a relatively complex subject such as an ornate building or dramatic landscape. And it is also possible to take a definitely ‘maximalist’ photo of a simple object. For this selection I’ve prioritised the simplicity of the subject matter but I tried also to look for more minimalist approaches.

Nature is pleased with simplicity and nature is no dummy

Isaac Newton
Bare plank of wood nailed on among rows of red painted ones

Boat repair, Ouseburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

The boat and rope in my feature photo are from Monopoli, Italy

Cracked white paint peeling from a red undercoat

Peeling paint on a garage door in Ealing, west London

Two blue rubber gloves on upright sticks by water

Rubber gloves drying on a boat, Amble, Northumberland

Outside a house in Monopoli, Italy

Broom with bright coloured bristles leaning against a wall

Deep blue wall and small pipe half-painted the same colour

Part-painted pipe in Cartagena, Colombia

Wall with dead climber, Cartagena, Colombia

Painted wall with dead-looking branches of a plant

Old Oriental style bell with a backdrop of green leaves

Hanging from the roof of the International Friendship Exhibition, Myohyangsan, North Korea

Pink petals on a green hedge

Fallen bauhinia petals in the grounds of the Real Alcazar, Seville

Black painted door with bolt and yellow flower

Hibiscus adorning a door in Bandipur, Nepal

Rusty hinge on wooden door covered in old staples

Door hinge and staples in Twisp, WA

Rusty chain on a pebble beach

On Aldeburgh Beach, Suffolk, England

Brush with red handle and fishing net hanging on a white wall

Paintbrush and fisherman’s tackle, Praia do Faro, Portugal

Custard tart on a white plate on a painted table

Pastel de Nata, Faro, Portugal

Radishes, purple cauliflower and greens

Vegetables at Borough Market, London

Pile of bright orange pumpkins

Pumpkins for sale in Santa Fe, NM

Pile of coconuts with hairy husks

Coconuts at a roadside stall in the plantations of Al Haffa near Salalah, Oman


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