MINIMALISM BEGAN as an art movement after the end of the Second World War, and really gained traction in the early 1960s. But this clean, stripped-down aesthetic has permeated so much of modern life – as anyone who has ever bought Swedish flat-pack furniture will attest – that it has become one of the most instantly recognisable styles of art.
Photographers have fallen in love with minimalism in their droves; it’s a style that lends itself perfectly to a medium that is concerned with framing life through a lens and editing out the distracting elements. But you don’t have to trek out to epic seascapes or invest in expensive ND filters to get the minimalist look – everything you need can be found in your kitchen.
Clean lines, simple concept
Creating a minimalist masterpiece is the polar opposite of the Baroque still life we put together earlier in this feature. Where that was a case of adding more and more elements to fill the busy dimly-lit frame, our minimalist composition contains just three constituent parts, only one colour and a flood of natural light.
A white plate on a white background would be enough to satisfy the brief, but that might have been taking things a little too far. The addition of the single green salad leaf acts as an anchor, without detracting from the minimalist aesthetic, and its placement on a line-of-thirds gives the composition more power.
By shooting from directly above, the shape is kept simple and symmetrical, and the soft light from a north-facing window adds a serene quality that perfectly matches the simplistic mood that we were aiming to achieve.
Left & above The simple pared-down minimalist look can draw the eye as much as a more cluttered scene.