Very often we are seduced by breathtaking views of iconic locations glowing in beautiful colours of the sunrise or the sunset. Especially in this day and age when technology allows us to show every little detail, colour and tone or even to blur the difference between highlights and shadows.
Though I also get inspired by sweeping vistas and love capturing spectacular, grand views, I am very often attracted to simple and quiet scenes. There are moments when I want to get away from all the clamour of the detail, because only then I feel I can capture the essence of the place and convey what I felt when taking the photograph.
One of my favourite quotes is by Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. The way I understand it is that simplicity goes hand in hand with perfection. It shows how beautiful and elegant things are when they are not lost in the detail. It means sifting through tons of soil to find one perfect gem. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean a lack of complexity, but merely that, presented in a simple way it allows us to focus on what is necessary.
Attaining simplicity is not always that simple. It is not easy to reduce the complexity of the world around us. To start with, it is the ability to focus on the important part of the scene which attracted us in the first place. Then it is the ability to capture that in our images. Whether it is a separation of a solitary subject, a combination of light and shadows, colours and shades or patterns and shapes leading the eye through the image.
Simplicity means different things to different people. To me it is the way to bring out the beauty in the most ordinary scenes. It is the way to achieve a feeling, an emotional response. It is the way of bringing out the best and the truth from a subject whilst only showing what is essential.
Another favourite quote of mine is by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and I cannot think of a better conclusion than this: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”