minimalism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by michael_murphy|5, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. Is there a photographic equivalent of the minimalism movement in
    painting and sculpture? I'm curious to know what photographers have
    worked in this style, if any.
    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. Perhaps I'm not qualified to answer this, having no significant art history background, but I would think that several of Kertesz's photos are pretty close to what is usually labelled as minimalism.
     
  3. Yes, but there's not much to it.
     
  4. Some of Harry Callahan's work.
     
  5. Dan
    Sorry, can't remember this guys name but I guess some of his work could be described as minimalist.
    www.keithlaban.co.uk
    006aIe-15407184.jpg
     
  6. Thanks Hans for the best laugh I've ever had on Photo.net!
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Yes.
    [​IMG]
    Golden Gate Bridge on a Foggy Day, Copyright 2002 Jeff Spirer
     
  8. David Fokos is the bomb. I love his work..

    http://www.robertkleingallery.com/gallery/fokos
     
  9. same photo as Jeff's, on a moonless night.
    006aJU-15408784.jpg
     
  10. OH yeah...

    I would classify Chip in this catagory.. Chip Hooper

    http://www.chiphooper.com/
     
  11. jbq

    jbq

    _Yes_
     
  12. Thanks, all. Incidentally, Keith, I love your found paintings series. Excellent work.
    Dan
     
  13. Check out Richard Misrach's "Sky" series.

    BTW, I'll bet Jeff gets big bucks for his fog image :>]
     
  14. I was leaving aside the fog image which, well, is insurpassable.
     
  15. Some <a href="http://www.aaronsiskind.org/images.html">Aaron Siskind<a/>.<p>

    <a href="http://www.peachgallery.com/artistWork.asp?artist=89">Peter Felllows<a/>, who (in this selection) looks a lot like Chip Hooper.
     
  16. A while back whilst feeling mischievous, I uploaded the image below to the gallery here on photo.net. The ratings came flooding in :-}
    006aVg-15412684.jpg
     
  17. <img src="http://www.photo.net/photodb/image-display?photo_id=1330390"><br> <br>
    During last winter's Northeast Blizzard. About as minimal as I've done.
     
  18. There's nothing more minimalist than the classically understated, left-the-lens-cap-on school.
     
  19. They prefer to call themselves "Photography in the absence of light".
     
  20. I would say that photography overall is plagued with minimalism, perhaps in a perjorative rather than a "school of art" sense. Many, many photographers strip down the image to its simplest forms, removing it from its environment. They do this so they have maximum control and can produce an image as they intend, but in so doing they often sterilize the image.
     
  21. What is minimalism? The opposite of glamour. But in no way abstract, minimalism stays in concert. Always! Now, what differentiate minimalism as art, from a simple document? Minimalism communicates a message, not a knowledge.
     
  22. people start to write here more and more confusing things. Glamour? Abstract? CONCERT??? hm.
     
  23. Sorry for the typo and thanks for observing it: I meant CONCRETE when I wrote concert. As for the other terms (abstract and glamour) do they really confused you casab', or did you meant they are too sophisticated for a minimalist taste? Is the word "nihilism" confusing (or too sophisticated) too? - Because I would have something to add:

    I'm one of those believing that minimalism is not nihilism. I see nihilism as a spoiled attitude, hiding in fact a big need to astonish people with something, ...with anything. Finally, at a more deep level, nihilism is the opposite of what it pretends to be.
     
  24. Minimalism, to me, is ment to have maximum impact on the viewer, with the least visual intrusion but a valid canvas needs to be presented. The Golden Gate in a fog, is not valid. Why, because it an unimaginative image that any second grader could come up with. I work in the minimalist world and consider the art with respect. What that means is, I care what the image thinks of me; a dufus or a person with thought.

    Here's an example of a minimalistic image.

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1161926&size=lg

    I leave the objects in the frame to act as a frame in which to leave the viewer to their own thoughts; a window if you will. As the viewer's thoughts are intended to finish the image.

    In this next image, it has even less in it to clutter the mind. It starts out on the right and ends in the fog on the left, a testimony to quiet and solitude. There's your thoughts and nothing more. The viewer's thoughts, again, completes the image. But there's something identifiable in the image.

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1161904&size=lg

    I'm big on sky and include, intentionally a lot of it in my images but there's always going to be an indentifiable object in the scene to give one an earthy grounding. Minimalism is not about who can get the least into an image. If that were the case then all we'd need to do is just paint a wall red and take pictures of it, all day long. Thousands of images of the same image of nothingness. The image has no purpose, no thought, no intelligence, nothing to be gained, empty, vapid, stupid. Having identifiable images in an image neither invalidates an image or prevents it from being minimalistic. Grounding with identifiable objects is a good thing:)

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1819545&size=lg

    I'll never gain acceptance in the art world because I personally think they're products of nutty thinking and they rightfully will think I'm offensive. Well one thing's for sure at least one of us will be right as I personally think, we're both right:)

    Here's a final example of a minimalistic image as I continue in my quest to fit in. Consider the image, a self portrait:)

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1903901&size=lg

    Hope my above is found insightful.
     
  25. It helped me to learn something about the minimalist message (I knew it was there, but did never dig deeper on this subject). I stay with my previous comment, that minimalism works with concrete means and never with abstract (like abstract would have been obsolete or too elitist), but you learned me that this concrete is well worked: simplified at maximum (in composition as in color).

    Maybe the best minimalist picture, between those you provided a link too, is the second one: “Milpitas Hills”, where the composition is reduced at the single line of the railway and colors are almost B&W. I don’t find the “Coyote Sky” (your third link) to be minimalist at all, but “Trying To Fit In” (your fourth link) is another beautiful minimalist work. Thanks Thomas!
     
  26. V. 'ESCU , nov 26, 2003; 11:25 p.m. It helped me to learn something about the minimalist message (I knew it was there, but did never dig deeper on this subject). I stay with my previous comment, that minimalism works with concrete means and never with abstract (like abstract would have been obsolete or too elitist), but you learned me that this concrete is well worked: simplified at maximum (in composition as in color). Maybe the best minimalist picture, between those you provided a link too, is the second one: “Milpitas Hills”, where the composition is reduced at the single line of the railway and colors are almost B&W. I don’t find the “Coyote Sky” (your third link) to be minimalist at all, but “Trying To Fit In” (your fourth link) is another beautiful minimalist work. Thanks Thomas! It's always nice to read that someone understands what you're trying to share and thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'll leave you with one more for your mind to play with:)
    006d6z-15472484.jpg
     
  27. This image looks closer to an abstract than to a minimalist picture (excerpts like this one are for me half way to abstract, depends on how much concrete still is in the picture). No minimalism here. But other minimalist examples (those I liked most) from your pictures, are: “A Cloudy Day In Alvisto” (from the “Favorites” folder) and especially “But One Thing Shattered The Silence” (from the “Alvisto” roll).

    I don’t know exactly why, but I find many similarities between the minimalist style generally, and what was in architecture the Bauhaus’ functionalism. And after trying to find the answer in what these two styles are focusing on, and not finding any explanation, I took a look at what they were or are rejecting. Bauhaus rejected the ornament, while minimalism seems to reject the abstract. What similarities might be between ornament and abstract? In form they are in opposition, as the abstract means essence and there’s no place for ornament there. I think the answer is elsewhere: ornament is the expression of opulence, and abstract is the expression of elitism. Or, rejecting these, Bauhaus the opulence and minimalism the elitism, both styles seem to try to democratize their objects (the architectural and the artistic objects) by simplicity. In conclusion, the similarities I was looking for are: “simplicity” and “democracy”.

    But there’s a price, a dark side, to these: Bauhaus produced perfect functional buildings, but the ugliest of all the history (maybe I exaggerate, but not too much), because it throw the child with the diaper: they throw the care for the form with the care for the ornament. Now, will minimalism throw the care for elaboration (on form, on expression) with the care for the abstract? This might be a first stage, like Bauhaus was for functionalism. But after Bauhaus, came Le Corbusier with his aesthetics of simplicity and purity of forms. So might minimalism bring new aesthetics too in the close future...

    Thomas Gardner here above, is not jet the Corbusier of minimalism, but he is one of those who didn’t throw the care for elaboration with the care for the abstract. In his minimalist pictures he works exclusively with the concrete, but he also voluntary imposes a certain reductionism in form and color (still without abstracting!). And this voluntary reductionism becomes the way he elaborates his images. And it looks like he elaborates his images with lot of care. I wait to see what this will give in the close future (or maybe I won’t wait, but will try to participate, once the interest for minimalism excited thanks to Thomas).

    Note please, that all these here are personal opinions, and I don’t try to impose them to anybody. I just share my thoughts. Don’t want them, don’t read them. Like them, thanks a lot, and I'll be happy to read your opinions too.
     
  28. V. ESCU

    Thomas Gardner here above, is not jet the Corbusier of minimalism, but he is one of those who didn’t throw the care for elaboration with the care for the abstract. In his minimalist pictures he works exclusively with the concrete, but he also voluntary imposes a certain reductionism in form and color (still without abstracting!). And this voluntary reductionism becomes the way he elaborates his images. And it looks like he elaborates his images with lot of care.

    -------------------------

    Why that's just the nicest thing anybody has said:)

    And yes, you nailed what it is that I try to do with minimalistic imagery.

    The image of the crashing wave at Mavericks qualified, in my opinion, as minimalist because the image was identifiable as a wave, so it hadn't moved over into the abstract. Maybe I'm a bit too free in my interpretation of minimalism.

    To me, minimalism isn't a game of who can get the least into the image and still be recognizable but it's an attempt to rid the image of extraneous items so as to not deflect the viewer away from the thought.

    In the case of the architecture and Bauhaus and Corbusier, landscaping completes the architecture, just as I expect the mind to complete the image that I create. I want a place for the mind to wander with their quiet thoughts as opposed to always putting the mind on the defensive, having to defend itself against what it's seeing such as hate, anger, decay, angst, controversy, lust, ect., ect. The mind becomes the landscaping:)

    Thank you again for your kind words.
     
  29. Sorry, people, for the last lines in my previous comment. I have written them with Csab Jozsa’s last comment in mind. But, I’m not rejecting critics. I’ve learned the humility lesson 20 years ago and never forgot it: my professor destroyed a project in which I was investing too much (affectivity), and the worst was that he was perfectly right. I’ve suffered 2-3 days after this event, but the first moment I’ve accepted his suggestions, I felt free, free of any pride. And this was such a marvelous feeling, I never since stepped back to the pride. Still, comments having nothing to do with critics, often make me angry. So, this is how came out these last lines in my previous comment. Sorry. Please critic my opinions without any prejudice in mind.

    Now back to our exchanges Thomas. You say: “I want a place for the mind to wander with their quiet thoughts”, and “The mind becomes the landscaping”. I say: did you know “Das Lied von der Erde” (the Song of the Earth) by Mahler? (English version of the text is here, but music goes still first: http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/merge.cgi?235&en). I refer especially at the last part, the 6th, the second half of it, after the short intermezzo ...remembering of a Colombo episode... Of course Mahler is not a minimalist, but an expressionist (last romantic style), but there are similarities at the message level.

    And something for the other people here. I see Thomas and I, are the only exchanging here since two days. Where are you all? Are we in this thread too late? Or did I take too much space? Did I bring the discussion to a subject or to an approach you are rejecting? Or did this thread lose your interest already? No answer will be an answer (don’t know which one, but I’ll live with this uncertainty).

    Viorel Dumitrescu (Too long? Better V. Escu, isn't it?)
     
  30. My heart is weary. My small lamp
    has gone out with a splutter; it reminds me of sleep.
    I am coming to you, comfort place of rest!
    Yes, give me rest - I have need of rejuvenation.

    --------------------

    No I wasn't aware of this music or these words. But yes, the words do fit the intent of most of my imagery.

    Just a pretty place for the mind to wander when it can't:)
     
  31. Nice “transcendent” image: trees are there only to make you look far behind them (your leitmotif). BTW, the words of “das Lied von der Erde” are still words, sometime much too romantic. They are good to follow the music at the firsts auditions. But the music itself..., this digs far more deeper. Once you have heard it, creates dependency! This happened to me only once in the past, many years ago, when I first heard Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes the Flood”. If you ever want to buy this CD, I recommend you Karajan and Christa Ludwig and who ever will sing with them (there were at least two different tenors, but this is less important, Ludwig is important). It sells on eBay for about ...$5(!!!). The whole work is very unusual, big contrasts between parts, from drinking dissonant lieds, through some voluntarily ridiculous miniatures, to the most ecstatic music I’ve ever heard (the 2nd and especially the 6th part). Worth the experience. But I went too far from the subject of this thread, so better stop here. Bests,
     
  32. Viorel, (if I may call you like this)
    "I'm one of those believing that minimalism is not nihilism. " I fully agree with you, actually, this is exactly what I said above, " The minimum is not always zero".
    However, i feel there is a big contradiction (don't take this as criticism please) between the subject and the way you treat it. Writing pages and pages trying to redefine and reexplain the minimalism, while you've (we all have) already said it at the beginning very well, in the above simple (minimalistic?) sentence. From my part, at least, that's why i did not further contribute to the rather lengthy discussion (i should say dialogue) of you two.
    But, enjoy!:eek:) (i agree, it's still a lot better than discussing the canon versus nikon subject)
    Have a nice light.
     
  33. 1) What you say now Csab' Jozsa: “...you've (we all have) already said it at the beginning very well, in the above simple (minimalistic?) sentence” is the opposite of what you previously meant: “people start to write here more and more confusing things. Glamour? Abstract? CONCERT??? hm”.

    2) You have to be sure I have (and do) strongly appreciate your observation: “The minimum is not always zero”.

    3) I’m not a minimalist, but just got interest in this style. You see a contradiction between the subject matter and the length of my comments? It is none. It is just a way to understand minimalism by a non-minimalist. Sorry, but I didn’t learned big thing of the almost monosyllabic comments following the beginning of this thread. These looked to me more like a password exchange between a hand of minimalists by opportunism (with few exceptions), trying to built an exclusionist circle. And your comment following my first and very short intervention, came from such an exclusionist position: overreaction to a typo and allusions to a terminology, otherwise very common, but who wasn’t exactly the password expected to get in this thread. Would I have said: “OH yeah..., Uh..., Eh..., Yh..., Keep Chip!”, I’m sure I would have been instantly accepted. But this wouldn’t have brought me anything, just like the two Golden Gates old in concept from about a century, maybe more. On the contrary, thanks to Thomas and his pictures, I have learned a lot.
     
  34. After reading a few descriptions of minimalism it seems that it's more about the process itself. One description says "Minimalism has been described as purely realistic because the subject is the painting itself." in reference to minimalist painting, which arose as a backlash against abstract expressionism.

    From what I have seen most photographers have at least one photo that they would describe as 'minimalist', which usually involves depicting simple geometric objects lacking in complexity and/or essentially monochromatic. This seems to differ from what I now understand as minimalism. Pinhole photography or other methods of photography (or printing) that are essentially stripped-down might be a better description of minimalism.
     
  35. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Minimalism, to me, is ment to have maximum impact on the viewer, with the least visual intrusion but a valid canvas needs to be presented. The Golden Gate in a fog, is not valid.
    You seem to revel in inventing your own definitions, but langauge exists because of common definition. There isn't a dictionary in the world, an art historian, a photography critic anywhere that would recognize your definition.
    Sorry, but as in every thread you comment on here, you seem to be living in your own mind. Not a bad thing if you're producing good art, but, frankly, the Alviso image sucks and isn't particularly minimal.
    Following Mr. Laycock's comments, here is a not-quite-minimal pinhole image of the Alviso crossing taken in almost the same location you show in your first link:
    [​IMG]
    60-50, Copyright 2000 Jeff Spirer
     
  36. V'escu,

    hey, I'm happy you learned a lot! That's the point of a forum over here, isn't it? Sorry, i won't contradict you anymore!:eek:)

    Have a nice light today too.
     
  37. Dan,

    I'm not aware of any particular movement called minimalism in
    photography. What is generally thought of as minimalism has
    already been touched on formally, but I'll add a bit to it as well.

    It starts in sculpture as an investigation into scale and raw
    material. Robert Morris' black box made of steel confronts the
    viewer at roughly the same size as a person. Carl Andre's zinc
    tiles lay flat on the floor. Donald Judd's plywood boxes frame and
    explore basic space. The artist's interaction with the materials is
    removed. They are industrially produced steel, plywood, metal,
    felt etc. It is scupture as basic form.

    It is a very conceptually driven movement that grows in painting
    as well with an investigation into the picutre plane as flat, paint
    as 2D, breaking the bounds of the canvas edge, etc.

    The primary investigation in Minimalism as to do with the formal
    elements of the medium; scale, material and space.
    Photography really hasn't had the same issues explored.
    Perhaps digital photography will allow chemistry based
    photography to formally demonstrate it's differences and unique
    qualities, although I'm not sure how.

    Minimalism comes out of a crisis in painting and sculpture as
    those media seek their own essential qualities after
    photography has taken over much of the philosophical discourse
    surrounding image making. Photography hasn't really endured
    such a crisis yet.
     
  38. mg

    mg

    Despite a few exceptions, I would say that minimalists have one thing in common: the difference between their work and the work of other minimalists is often... minimal. :)
    <p>
    Conclusion: except when it's really more, I'd say that less is often less, because one man's less often looks the same as another man's less.
    <p>
    Of course, this is just a lesser opinion.
     
  39. The problem I see with minimalism is that the if the intended response is philosophical,
    the subject is quickly explored and abandoned. Emotional responses to minimalist images
    can be another matter all together. I have several images in my folder that I consider
    minimalist: the watcher, and in the surf.

    I also think that minimalist technique can be an effective means to keep a complex subject
    from drowning in it;s own complexity.
     

Share This Page