Michael Pilkington • Bringing Order to Chaos

In a world of endless choices, how can we simplify the images we intend to make? Michael Pilkington talks about the attraction of minimalism and how he tuned out the noise to let the subjects speak

As landscape photographers we seem to work hard at simplifying our compositions and in doing so we pay a lot of attention to what needs to be excluded from it. We strive to achieve clean and obvious representations of what is before us. To this end we employ the many rules of good composition such as rule of thirds, leading lines and the 80/20 rule. All of these make it easier for the viewer to digest and appreciate the photograph before them and make it equally easier for the photographer to construct a composition. So, why do we do this? Simply, because it works. Artists have been doing this for centuries and we are continuing to follow their lead.

In pursuit of simplifying images, we as photographers can employ many techniques. Long exposures can reduce the confusion of rough waters in seas, lakes, rivers and clouds in skies into areas of simple textures and tones. Photographing in snow, deserts or monoculture fields will achieve the same goal. Converting an image to black and white reduces the mosaic of colours in an image to one of tones of grey.

The extreme of this pursuit is minimalism. It is very popular amongst amateur and professional photographers alike. Exclude everything from the image except ...

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About Author

Michael Pilkington

Michael Pilkington is a professional landscape photographer and co-founder of the Landscape Photography Workshop company aspect2i. He is principal lecturer of the Epson Print Academy and also teaches infrared and other aspects of landscape photography with aspect2i.

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