The last few photo Inspirational Photo spotlights I’ve shared with you have dealt with abstract compositions, emotive portraits, complex lighting and so on. While each photo was inspiring in its own right, I feel that I have almost done a disservice by neglecting my favorite principal: Simplicity is Key.
These week, I would like to share with you a great photo that clearly demonstrates that principal. This great photo, A Fence on a Long Island Beach, is from the camera of Darren Moore. When many people strive for simplicity, they go a little extreme: A single object on a white surface, repetition of lines, and so on to the point of abstraction. While such subjects certainly are simple, they often seem contrived and over-thought. What we often neglect as artists are the scenes before us, the every day things that we could easily turn into art. A wooden snow fence (it’s not snowing, but that’s its official name) on a windswept sand dune, and only a sliver of the surf in the background. The horizon is not present because it’s not essential and it would over-complicate the shot. All we’re left with is the most basic of building blocks: Line, Pattern (repetition) and Texture.
The thing I love about this photo is that it introduces us to the beauty of something that we are all familiar with, but might take for granted. The purpose of the snow fences along beaches is to keep people off the dunes. The dunes are essential to the ecology of the beach and the human element can easily deteriorate this essential feature of the beach. Yet interestingly enough, the fence itself helps the dune to naturally rebuild itself. Here we have clear evidence of the power of the wind as the fence is partially buried in the drifting sand. From a compositional perspective, the partially buried fence is interesting because it varies the scale and frequency of the pattern. But it’s just a snow fence on a beach. Most of us have seen these and passed them by. Many of us have had our cameras with us when we passed these by – never giving thought to whether it would make a good photo.
What Darren has done for us this week is reminded us to look around with our cameras in mind. We need to take more opportunities to look through the lens to compose a shot of normal every-day-things – without our peripheral vision, without our symbolism and without prejudice. Thank you, Darren, for sharing your work with us.