“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
Today I have a cool photo challenge for you. This simplicity challenge has been inspired by this photo that I took a few years ago in Fes, Morocco:
I really loved the simple lines and colours. It makes me happy to find something clear and clean and strong to photograph. And it’s not easy to create something that is both simple and interesting.
So today I would love to challenge you to create a simple – but also interesting – photograph. And I have some ideas to get your creative ideas flowing.
Focusing on simplicity is also excellent training for your eye.
Learning to extract everything that is unnecessary from your photo is an indelible skill to develop. This challenge will help you with that.
“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” Frederic Chopin
Can you see how much I like photographing walls! The lines, colours and textures of walls are fun to work with.
I’ve talked before about how important it is to make sure that all of the elements in your frame are relevant, and to remove any element that isn’t. Reducing what is in your frame is good because the more you have the more your eye is darting around looking at things, and the less impact your subject will then have.
Everything in your frame has to be there for a reason. It has to have a purpose, contributing to the overall image (check those corners!).
Simplicity is a great technique to think about for your images, because it will help you create images with more impact.
It will train you to remove things that you don’t need and get you moving your feet and thinking about if you have the correct lens.
Simplicity, I think, has the effect of provoking ideas of purity, or beauty or clarity. It’s very pleasing to the eye. Simplicity is creating order out of chaos.
Plus – sometimes we just want to celebrate our subjects. That’s where the aesthetic appeal of simplicity comes in. Remember – complexity is very easy, just look anywhere you are right now – simplicity takes thought and effort.
Weird huh…seems counterintuitive.
In the photo above we have a total simplicity of colour. Of course the colour is beautiful, but can you see that it brings the photo together, and creates an order to the simplicity?
It’s the fact that the colours are in aesthetically pleasing bands of colour. The lines going across the photo of colours fit in a sort of ‘rule of thirds’ type of style too.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein
I recommend focusing on simplicity if you find your photos end up being too busy looking and you find it hard to create impact for your subject.
I love simplicity because it stimulates the imagination.
I like this quote below because it’s a powerful reminder that we don’t always have to include everything in the photo.
“I like to have a thing suggested rather than told in full. When every detail is given the mind rests satisfied and the imagination loses the desire to use its own wings.” Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Here are some ways I’ve used simplicity in my photography.
“A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace.” Confucius
The simplicity can come from the subject being an everyday object. Something I am very keen on.
This is a photo of textures to me. A little bit of contrast, a little colour – but mainly texture.
Simplicity of colour
Di loves this photo. She loves the textures and colour – and I love to focus on colour.
Has this given you some ideas? Will you take up my challenge and try to capture ‘simplicity;?
I’d love to know, comment below and let us know.
Have a great day and happy photographing,
Anthony and Diana