I've just completed work on a new set of images, shot over a six day duration on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
I have wanted to come here ever since I got to know the beautiful mono work of Michael Kenna. He has been photographing this island for over a decade and his images are really a lesson in simplification.
Over the past few months, I've become aware that I seem to be very selective with regards to how 'dense' the scenes are that I choose to shoot. I think when you're peering through a viewfinder at a white canvas with only one tiny little tree, you are forced to think long and hard about what it is that you're trying to do. How minimalist can one go?
I know that many consider my style 'minimalist' but I've come to realise that I do look for a certain ratio or degree of emptiness in my compositions.
I am wondering if each of us has a 'goldilocks' ratio for our own compositions? For example, perhaps if you look at your own work, you can see there is a trend to shoot very busy scenes over less busy ones? My feeling is that each of us has a gut instinct to go for a certain amount of objects in the frame. If we find a scene that is more empty than we are used to, we feel either unsure or insecure as to whether it 'feels right', and the same too if the scene is more complex than we normally shoot. If this is the case, I think it simply may be down to a matter of taste, something each of us chooses based on our own aesthetic sensibilities.
So with this thought in mind, I am going to actively give myself more permission to vary the complexity of my compositions in future.
I'd like to think this is perhaps a signal, something that is telling me that what I want to do with my photography is changing, or maybe it's just a recognition that I do tend to gravitate towards the very simple most of the time, and there are other kinds of compositions out there that are equally as valid, but I'm missing out on, because my own aesthetic taste keeps forcing me to work within a small range of 'acceptable compositions' Time will tell.
The new Hokkaido portfolio is up under my 'new work section of this website.