Tales From The Camera Bag: Plain Vs. Simple

“Plain” according to Google is; ordinary, unembellished, unadorned, unfussed, basic, modest, and unsophisticated. Simple is defined as; straightforward, easy, uncomplicated and elementary.
These two words are often used together and used in the same sentence as ordinary. As I was going through (and deleting) images I came to realize that I was attracted to the more uncluttered, simple, uncomplicated images. Simple does not mean that we ignore the “protocol’s” of composition. Rather, these simple images become less complex and might have just one theme to them, like, colour, texture, lines or contrast. I’ve included an image of the Kennebecasis river during a sunset, it is simple as it has been broken down to three elements and in ways some of these have been simplified. The river has been calmed and smoothed out by using a six stop filter, giving me a 30 second exposure, causing the water to become silky smooth. The second component Long island, is almost featureless as a silhouette, all you can see are the peaks of the trees. Well the sky is what bring this image from plain to simple, as it has marvelous, “if you did not see it for yourself you would not believe it colour”. Yes there is some texture in those clouds but the time exposure smoothes those details out. So if using a time exposure simplifies and images what other techniques can we use to reduce an image to a simpler form, selective colour. I can hear the collective groans of the many of you who have been involved with photography for a while as it was a cliche, not none the less it is effective.
I remember making an image on Grand Manan island. Where I found myself behind a rustic and weathered, small fishing shack, the kind where the fisher whiles away the hours repairing nets. Behind this shed was a red wooden bucket. It was such a contrast to the gray, weathered shed. So I made it a black and white image except the red bucket. It may be corny but it still works for me. I encourage to go online to see the online version to see the next image I have included. It is a small storage shed on the side of the hill on a well known farm in Sussex. Yes there is a ton of clutter all around this shed, the farm house farming implements, bales of hay… I focused on just the shed and the glorious light that was on it. White shed on white snow but the roof and door were red and the sky was blue. Again, this might have been a plain image but those few colours bring it from plain to wonderfully simple.
The summer bring with it so many opportunities for photography. Chose a gendre and then make is simple. Look at your image and ask what can I take away from this image and bring it to its essence. Shoot – Print- Share.