Minimalism and the art of omission

Whenever I think about my photography and why I make pictures in my particular way I circle back to a quote I heard during one of my first photography lessons.

"A painter starts with an empty canvas and adds colors, shapes, textures until he has a finished image whereas a photographer starts with a full frame and removes colors, shapes, textures until he has a finished image.”

For quite some time I didn't fully understand what this means and why it is relevant but over the past two years I started to embrace the concept and learned to work with it.

I feel that I can create a picture with a much stronger impact when I purposefully leave out most of the detail and information compared to showing everything that is there to show. The human mind has the ability to fill in a lot of blanks and still recognize what is in the picture if the right elements are chosen. What it also does is to open a door in the viewers mind to create his own story for this picture, it even can evoke a sense of mystery and wonder. What is important to me is to get past a simple representation of an object and move an artistic interpretation – more than meets the eye as they say.

Take this picture for example:


To create it I have used intentional camera movement and some strong vignetting to further enhance the sense of movement.

But what is it? And more importantly, what is it to you?

My title for this image is “Feathers of Steel”, my first and strongest association was that of bird wings with their grace and lightness. On another day I saw a japanese samurai helmet. And more recently I overheard someone saying that it resembles a whale tail when the animal is starting to dive.

What do you see?