This is a random shot of people chilling on the pier in Bradenton Beach one recent evening. The pier has benches and swings so you can just there watching the world go by. A nice thing about being on a pier is there are no mosquitoes over the water.
I hope people don’t mind that I take pictures of them like this. I try to keep folks anonymous by shooting from the back. A few minutes later I was shooting in a different direction and didn’t realize there was someone off to the side staring at me as if to say, hey that’s not cool. Normally I just ignore it and make a mental note not to use that photo. Most people don’t care but I try to be considerate.
Once I was taking pictures of a busy sidewalk at an outdoor shopping area. Some guy thought I was taking pictures of him and told me to stop. I look at him blankly and said; why would I want to take a picture of you? I’ll admit I got a little hot under the collar. I had no intention of taking that guy’s picture, but maybe he was not where he was supposed to be, who knows.
The right to take photos in public places is something we have to assert from time to time. I am respectful but people tend to notice when it’s a real camera. Take the same picture with your phone and no one pays any attention. We’ve become conditioned in odd ways that would be difficult to explain to an alien that just landed on earth.
I found no aliens on this pier and so I didn’t need to explain anything to anybody. I did take a lot of pictures of people staring out to space though. Maybe they saw something I didn’t.
The minimalistic aesthetic is something I look for wherever I go. It’s easy to compose minimalistic scenes when facing out to sea; the ocean is a natural canvas. A pier or ship or any solitary object creates an object of interest. My theory is that minimalism provides more room for interpretation and connection to the viewer precisely because there is less to look at.
More difficult perhaps is minimalism in a big city. It involves framing singular aspects of objects in a way that give them space and room to breath. Unlike an open ocean, capturing minimalism becomes a puzzle within the visually crowded confines of a city. For whatever reason I’ve notice that German photographers seem to be good at this. Maybe it’s a reflection of the culture in some way.
A minimalistic aesthetic as it applies to architecture photography involves seeing things in an isolated way. It’s attention to the little details in plain site that escape most of us. It’s a pursuit that points out what we see but don’t recognize. In my opinion artful photography helps us see with new eyes.
As an aside, I have a very clear recollection of taking this old pier at Gasparilla Island. A few minutes later I slipped and broke my camera. That was over two years ago but it’s never far from my mind. Since then I am extra careful when handling my camera. However, the other day I dropped my camera on the pavement as I was getting out of my car. It dropped from about two feet and I was lucky because there was no damage. But I was rushing and that led to the mishap.
Anyway, it’s good to slow down when looking for minimalism in a city or the sea. By taking extra time we might notice the less obvious perspectives in plain sight. An additional benefit of slowing down is we’ll be less likely to drop a camera.
This is a long exposure cityscape of Sarasota I took one night while waiting for the full moon to rise above the bridge. I was fortunate in that there was no wind and the waters of the bay were still. While that’s great for photos it also means there are a lot of mosquitos. I had a can of repellant and sprayed myself from head to toe: a minor annoyance but its a small price to pay in exchange for perfect conditions.
I never know when conditions will be good for photography until the last moment. If I had all the time in the world I’d go out every night checking. As a matter of fact I did that this evening before I sat down to write this. We had some dramatic clouds and I thought to get in position, but nothing happened and I drove home without a shot. It’s a numbers game; sometimes you lose and sometimes you win.
Earlier in the day I took a three-hour drive looking for compositions, in the end I got only one. The effort that goes into my photography is not carbon neutral. I should probably look into an electric car or just take the bus.
So that the time is not a complete waste I’ll listen to podcasts. I can get drawn into the stories such that the traffic, distances and time are not so monotonous. Even if I come back without a good composition at least I learned something. My favorite is Radio Labs, but I also like This American Life and sometimes Tim Ferris.
A lot of effort goes into making a good podcasts and the same holds true for photos. I love doing it so I rarely notice the time, but most of the images I post involve many hours of traveling, editing, expense, and sometimes even spraying myself with insect repellant.