View Full Version : Assignment #25: Simplicity

01-25-2009, 10:03 AM
Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.
- Paul Rand

Simple pictures are hard to get. Sometimes the world intrudes, and won't give us an uncluttered composition. Sometimes we are looking only at the subject, and don't see all of the other elements that the camera sees. Sometimes we don't understand the theme and subject well enough to clarify when we are taking a photo. And sometimes we just want to include everything.

Having simple and clear compositions has always been a goal of mine, but it's a goal that I rarely attain. I was really struck by the comment by designer Paul Rand that having modest expectations is as important as a good design. It's an interesting idea, and one that I hadn't considered before.

Consider simplicity when you're taking photos. Look for opportunities to use a good idea to create a good design, and keep the complexity to a minimum. And while I always encourage new photographs, classic examples from your collection are also welcome.

01-29-2009, 08:14 PM
A picture I took a few months ago, one I always thought was very simple but attractive...

01-30-2009, 02:57 PM
from just now - looked simple enough! then I looked some more.....

E3 + 14-54 jpeg, vivid, NF low and SAT uploaded and resized by flickr


(I actually like what the settings/camera have actually done here)


01-31-2009, 03:23 PM
Nothing more simply beautiful than a flower....E-520 + http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n412/carizi/Micro%20Photography/P1317265pcs.jpg

Propaganda Panda
01-31-2009, 09:13 PM
Took this earlier today, then saw this contest, I think it fits. I really like this shot.

02-01-2009, 02:44 PM

I think this is pretty simple

http://thumbs.photo.net/photo/8562124-sm.jpg[URL="http://thumbs.photo.net/photo/8562124-sm.jpg"] (http://gallery.photo.net/photo/8562124-md.jpg)

02-01-2009, 11:32 PM
I have to confess (in case anyone didn't already know) that I wrote keep the complexity to a minimum as a reminder to myself. My personal inclination is always to give a complicated answer to simple questions, and to make the questions themselves complex whenever possible.


I really like peaceful seascapes, and felt the need to shoot multiple frames and stitch them together. This one's only two frames, but that's still more than I really need. On the other hand, it should make a nice print. The judges at my camera club helpfully pointed out that it lacks an identifiable centre of interest.


I suppose this one really is simple: I chose to blot out a lot of interesting graffiti and other items in this "abandoned" building. (It's probably one of the most photographed places in Toronto: while I was sneaking around in it, four other photographers showed up with studio lighting and a couple of models. Seriously.) It was shot in aperture-priority with a -5EV adjustment dialed in to stop the windows from blowing out. I could have switched to manual mode, but that would have been more complicated.


This is what the seascape in the first photo looks like from 100 feet further back.
To the judges credit, this one got a minor award at my camera club.


I love my 35-100. The concept was to replicate a "size matters" illustration from What The Duck (http://www.whattheduck.net/) so that I could e-mail it back to the comic strip's creator. My nod to simplicity was in finding a way to shoot the largest 'product' I've had to deal with, and include both white and black items on a dropped-out background. (No pixels have been harmed in Photoshop for this image.) I did it by sliding my ottoman up to the couch and covering them with a strip of drawing paper. This is a dark white, and comes in rolls of varying width. Mine's 36" wide, which meant I needed a telephoto lens so long that I was practically shooting from the balcony. It's lit with two flashes, one on an optical slave to blow the background, and a camera-mounted flash for on-axis fill light. That one was angled upwards just a little, and that was all I needed.

Simple. (Almost.)

02-04-2009, 10:04 AM
Winter Blues: One I almost passed by, but it caught my eye. Glad I stopped.

Holy Ghosted
02-06-2009, 05:18 PM
Solitude Enduring the Winds of Change.

http://glory2jesus4photography.smugmug.com/photos/466234945_VKe9u-450x450.jpg (http://glory2jesus4photography.smugmug.com/gallery/7254257_5jFWF/3/466234945_VKe9u#466234945_VKe9u)

02-07-2009, 03:41 PM

I was trying to figure out an all-around setting for the little "weenie" flash on my E3.


02-08-2009, 09:39 PM
Took this one last weekend. If you look closely, it's actually the reflection off the lake as the water was very smooth and calm that day.


02-11-2009, 06:04 AM
First post in assignment.
'A man in smoke'


E510+Pentacon MF 135mm/2.8

02-11-2009, 04:14 PM
A picture I took a few months ago, one I always thought was very simple but attractive...
I really like that shot!!


Liver "brownies" for our pup:

02-14-2009, 10:58 AM
Snow lends itself well to simplicity:

www.robertcolephotography.com (http://www.robertcolephotography.com)

02-16-2009, 03:18 PM
Here's a quick shot that I took on the way home from work last week. Something about the juxtaposition of the two signs, the framing effect of the light pole, and the rock wall all combined to make a simple, yet compelling image, for me at least.


The only edits I've made to this one are:

Shifting the white and grey levels slightly in PS to adjust the exposure (I tend to try to underexpose 1/3 to 2/3 stops when shooting to avoid blowing out highlights)
Scaling down to 800px wide
Unsharp mask 150% 0.3 pixel radius
Adding my copyright to the metadata

Otherwise, it's straight out of my camera, as shot. (Olympus E-520 w/40-150mm kit lens)

- Rick Dickinson

02-16-2009, 04:13 PM
Something Simple.
Veradero, Cuba
Panny L1, 14-50


02-16-2009, 05:40 PM
One light. Pushed the contrast, converted to B&W:

02-18-2009, 11:17 AM
Just a little something for you :)

02-19-2009, 08:32 PM
This is my very first time ever posting a photo on here.

i chose to do this assignment because i believe it is one of the basic fundamentals to photography. I remember one of my teachers taught me the phrase "KISS" Keep It Simple Stupid. It has always stuck in my mind


I used my E-520 @ 42 mm, f5.6 set to monotone

02-19-2009, 08:52 PM
Ok, here is a simple one from a few nights ago.


02-19-2009, 08:55 PM
it looks like an old fashioned microphone at first.

02-20-2009, 12:40 PM
Nothing great, but about as simple as I have right now...


02-20-2009, 07:02 PM
I love minimalistic photos.

02-22-2009, 05:26 PM
I took this photo last week at the park


02-22-2009, 11:37 PM
I dunno how simple, but i'll go for it

02-23-2009, 11:16 AM
A few photos that I have taken recently. They are both taken with the ZD 35mm f/3.5 Macro lens. I had just picked up this lens, not really knowing it's capabilities. After taking some photos with it of mundane objects I was simply amazed at the unique perspectives this lens offers. It has seldom come off my camera since.

02-25-2009, 11:26 AM
I shot this yesterday and then thought this might be a good subject for Simplicity so I have reposted it here.


E520 OOC jpg, Soligor 35/70mm f2.5, I did adjust the color and sharpen this version. The subject is the condensation on the inside wall of a 5gal water bottle,back lit buy the sun.

03-02-2009, 01:47 AM
2 simple shots from my trip to Venice....

A lonely house shot from a boat while traveling to island Burano

One of beautifull details Burano can offer. Lots of (and o really mean it) of coloursull houses. Each in it's own style.

03-07-2009, 08:57 PM
I took this picture of the moon solely to try out my new 70-300mm. I then thought that since it's just a moon, it might be ideal for the "simplicity" assignment.

So there it is. A moon and that's it... Doesn't get any simpler than that. But that simplicity does encapsulate something wonderful =)

11-28-2009, 10:55 PM
Here's a fairly simple shot.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2446/3820248339_e2e44a4814.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/flipgto/3820248339/sizes/l/)

12-06-2009, 12:42 AM