I was talking to Dave, one of the participants of my April workshop about 'nothingness'. Dave agreed with me that it's very easy for most photographers to point their camera at a well known land mark to make an image, when really, it's not the object that is the main point of interest, but the interplay of light, shape and tone that is what makes a photograph work. Dave finished off his email by saying a lot of photographers don't have the 'confidence to shoot nothingness'. I've certainly seen that on some of my trips. I give someone a beautiful beach like Scarista on Harris to photograph and they struggle with it. I've had comments like 'there's nothing here' and also one participant who told me they did not want to go back to the location because they'd seen the beach and there was nothing there.
My feelings are that if there's nothing there, then it's really a reflection on how open we are to what we're being presented with. I often feel we just need to work at it or look at the location in a different way, or walk a few more yards and then we will find something that will work for us.
I love space, texture, light. In the image above of Scarista, the main point of focus for me was the moving clouds and so for me, using a beach with less demanding shapes and textures was ideal because it would not distract.
I feel my images have become more simplistic over time. Simple is good, simple is effective and it's a great lesson in being able to break a scene down into its main components. I feel I understand a landscape and also the image process better when I work with simple locations.
But I'm sure that for some people, they feel intimidated by the space. It is also not for the person who feels that there should be something of note. Some people simply feel that a photograph should be about a land mark, like Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Mount Everest, when really, it can simply work because we're playing with texture, shade and tone.
I wonder if you find minimalist landscapes something you wouldn't consider shooting and if so, why you wouldn't shoot them?