Friday, October 14, 2011

Simple is Good ... Less is More

I recently came upon a blog post by Chase Jarvis that struck me in its directness.  It's lists 10 things that creative people should learn. 

Some of them are about other people the creative person encounters.  "Experts can't tell you everything you need to know."  "Clients don't know what they want."

Other things are about the creative process.  "Think different, not better." "Develop a sense of taste."

But this one thing Chase said really jumped out at me:
Simple is good. Almost every photo that is bad has too much information. Outside of technical basics, the number one reason that most photos fail is because there is no clear subject. Often this is the case with design, film, fashion, you name it. Remove clutter, remove distraction. Tell one story, and tell it well.
It is the photographer's obligation to the art to strive for a clarity about what the emotion is that the image evokes within, and then to create a picture that conveys its equivalance to the viewer.

A photograph fails if the viewer can't easily figure out what it's about.  This doesn't have to be a verbal thing. But if there isn't a clear sense, a simple statement, or a focused emotion that arises in the viewer, the image does not succeed as a conveyance.  And what is being conveyed?  It's the equivalent of what the photographer felt at the moment of capturing the image.  That's because photography, as all art, is expression.  Expression is communication.  Refining commication is about distilling, condensing, and identifying the essence.

Perfecting the art is about reducing and eliminating and simplifying.  I'll spend a lifetime working on this, trying to get it right.

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