Monday, November 3, 2014

Reductionism in Photography, as Covered by Theme

Reduction, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Kit Lens
iso 200, f9, 1/60 sec.
I read an interesting post on the blog Theme, about reductionism in photography. It considers the act of boiling down everything that we see, hear, and think to a simple concept. In photography, that translates to reducing composition to the absolute minimum.
(Click Here) to read the post about reductionism on the Theme blog.
Personally, I'm not sure where the intersection is between reductionism and simplicity. Many photographic texts and teachers stress simplicity in photographic composition. I don't really work that way. I have been told that some of my images have too much clutter, are not simple to understand. In general, I don't mind this, if the image still transmits a message. I don't want my images to be so simple as to be obvious or shallow.
The picture above is a rare example of simplicity (or is it reductionism?) for me. I took this one in Provincetown, Massachussetts when I was there for a workshop. To me, it represents a special quality to the light that I experienced there. It also reminds me of the simple yet completely satisfactory room that I stayed in while I was there. Of course, no other viewer will have the benefit of that experience.
It was the light that caught my eye, not the subject. I love how the light coming through the holes in the strainer is golden; I didn't set that up in any way. It's just the way it was.
Anyway, I'm sure that I can benefit from considering reductionism in my photographic work. I will do that, without losing some of the complexity that I feel when I make a picture. There's something to learn from each and every person's approach to photography and art.
But, I still don't really know if reductionism and simplicity are the same concept.