Minimalism: That’s it?

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What does minimum have to offer?

 I like taking pictures of striking landscapes. Places that are so beautiful that the first thing I do when I see it is take a deep breath, trying to soak it all in, and then letting out a barely audible “”wow”” as if saying anything any louder would destroy the scene. I prefer big, bold colors and wild, dramatic light. Certainly, that’s not everyone’s style… but it’s mine.That’’s what I love.

On a recent trip to Iowa City for New Year’s, I was confronted with a different scene. I was hoping to expand on a “prairie series” I’’ve been working on for more of a local Illinois feel, and left well before sunrise with visions of beautiful sunrises over old farmhouses dancing in my head. What I found was drastically different, and refreshingly beautiful.

 Most of the northern Midwest had been hit with a heavy freezing fog (to top off the snow we just got).“ Freezing Fog” is exactly what it sounds like: fog that freezes.The wind blows it against things that are cold, and the moisture in the air forms ice crystals on……well,… everything. This made for some absolutely haunting driving conditions, but eerily beautiful photographic opportunities. For me, it ended up being an exercise in minimalism.

What’s minimalism? Good question. Here’s a definition I found online:

“Minimalism: A twentieth century art movement and style stressing the idea of reducing a work of art to the minimum number of colors, values, shapes, lines, and textures.No attempt is made to represent or symbolize any other object or experience.”

That’s a pretty concise definition (as a sidenote, minimalism can be found in all forms of art: music, painting, sculpture, poetry, architecture, design, etc), but due to the subjectivity of art, it becomes more difficult when you try to apply it to real-world examples. Some purists would say some of these images are not “truly minimalist”. They’’d probably be right. But art is tough to classify that way. Most of them at least flirt with the idea of it. And for a big, bold landscape kinda guy like me… that’’s good enough.

It was strange, the fog never burned off. I didn’’t see a horizon all day. Part of what was fun about this experience was being “forced” to take these sorts of shots, and looking at the world in a way I normally wouldn’’t. Photography seems to make me do that often. That’’s why I love it. It’’s all about perspective.



“sleeping giant”

“three brothers”

“fogotten summers past”

“endless field”

“road to nowhere”