Is minimalism actually just a refuge?

There is this love-hate relationship I have developed with the urban minimal photography theme.

img_9167I find myself naturally drawn to seeking such subjects when out on the streets, and I find very appealing the clean–perhaps clinical–simplicity of the genre, but at the end of it all, I wonder if one may argue that there is a certain vacuum in subject matter and a certain absence of depth (at times spatial as much as emotional) which really is just a way of revealing the lack of potential in one’s photography (read: my own).

And yet there is a fabulous community of minimal photographers on Instagram, with a range of undoubtedly stunning shots that can also be taken as very inspiring and proof that there is something to be said about the genre.

I remain on the fence. But do check out #minimalphoto, #paradiseofminimal, #rsa_minimal (to name just three popular tags) to see some interesting collections, or–at times–to find that diamond in the rough.

I wonder (dread?) if my forays into minimalism are really just the seeking of refuge from the inability to produce more dynamic, deep, and narratively-potent street shots. On the other hand, the minimal approach aligns well with my current life view. Perhaps there is purpose and reward after all.

Just writing down my current thoughts… If you have made it this far, what are your thoughts on minimalist photography? Care to share?

Below is a trio of recent attempts in the minimal theme from my Instagram (anyfidelity)–they share the attribute of a wall as background. They are not very good examples, I admit, but I think the basic spirit is there.








  1. I think it all depends on how you feel about it. If you stick to shooting what you love, embrace the limitations of this genre and keep pushing it creatively, then why not? If you feel like getting out of your comfort zone and trying something else – why not? I like your minimalistic approach and although I prefer images that include people, I too shoot urban landscapes peopleless.

  2. I view minimalist work as abstract art — colour and shapes, texture, simplicity. Seeing the essence. Very Zen. It will seem cold to those who haven’t realised it, yet, if ever.

    1. Great commentary! Some people differentiate between abstract and minimal, but they do overlap in spirit. I like the connection with zen very much. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I just stumbled here from 125tel, where you commented. You haven’t been active for months so I don’t know if you’re still around – maybe you’re on retreat? I see the shaved head and robes. In any case, I appreciated your post here very much. It’s valuable to question, until maybe the questioning becomes a trap. I have had similar thoughts, particularly about the value of emotional content, but I also find simple abstract images can be very pleasing, especially when they contain something unexpected – a relationship between colors or among forms, etc. I looked at your abstract album and was struck by the repetition of colors – the brilliant blues and soft creams and splashes of orange. All food for thought!

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