2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 7: Minimalsim – Monotone Landscape

Howdy y’all! Many of you don’t know me, and I think that’s kinda cool. If you check out my Author page, you can read up on how this all came to be, back when I started PhotoChallenge.org. It’s a fun story that pivots off my own love affair with photography.

If you head over and read up, don’t forget to return here, to actually read about my first challenge for 2017.

This year I’m going to use the mega theme of Minimalism. Each time it’s my turn to challenge you, I’ll give you a more detailed sub-theme to focus on, pun intended.

I’ll start with a simple definition of Minimalism, as it pertains to art and photography. I’ve begun to accept that photography is not as much of an art form but a craft that we must practice, expand our skill set, and work towards, if we seek to achieve an improvement on our product. The end result has the potential to be art, but we must become students of the craft, growing and changing in order to become master craftsmen and craftswomen. 🙂

The British Dictionary defines


Design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.

I found several articles that help us get some additional clarity on the use of minimalism, with in the larger context of the art community. Rather than regurgitate that good information, please read them separately, to increase your understanding.

You may notice an overarching idea, the lack of personal expression. I take this to the next level, and encourage you to remove even the documentarian nature of photography. There will always be an inclination to be “documenting” something with your photography, you cannot effectively remove it completely. Photo journalism is the epitome of this, and I cherish photography’s contribution in that capacity. But for the sake of this challenge, we’ll be looking to harness a different approach. That’s the traditional artist’s approach to Minimalism. Yet, as you keep reading, you’ll notice a call to personal creativity, taking one more step from traditional art, into our world, the world of photography. Keep in mind that I may refer back to this introductory post on Minimalism, for future sub-themes, to keep us focused…


This week’s sub-theme is Monotone Landscapes. What the heck is that? The landscape part is easy. Get outside. Shoot wide. Use a tripod. Use a smaller aperture, to capture depth in your scene, like over f/8 at least.

What about Monotone? Well, start thinking black and white, but then take a creative step back and think, single tone. So any single tone, and white…sorta. I think I’m making it more confusing. Just look at the sample images I’m including, you’ll have your answer.

Summer Haze, by Grant MacDonald
Now, quit this idea of planning one time to go out and shoot, and shoot all dadgum week! As our rules encourage you below, Don’t leave home without your camera. I know many of you use your smartphone as your camera for these challenges. THat’s fine, but only shooting one image to process and submit isn’t going to cut it anymore. My challenges will be quite simple all year long, but that does’t mean I’m going to settle for you not doing your darnedest to create the best possible submission you can. It’s time to step up your game!

Dune, by Nat Wilson
Now don’t get scared off. We are all working at different levels. The whole point of PhotoChallenge.org is that we push each other to do better. The Facebook group especially has grown tremendously in our collective ability to give and take creative criticism. Be ready to be pushed. Push each other. Be willing to take advice, and maybe even reprocess an image and submit it again within the comments of your submission on Facebook, to show you are learning.

Now go make yourself something beautiful!

Treescape, by Ray Wewerka 
The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2014 Challenge, Week 20: LANDSCAPE – MINIMALIST

(Note: This theme selection is one of Trevor’s; I’m just writing the post for him this week.)

This week, we are back to a Landscape theme. This time, we are going to look for less. Minimalism is a style that uses pared-down design elements, reducing the subject to the essentials.

In this example, the subject — a tree on a hill — has been isolated by silhouetting it against the sky. A relatively large amount of the frame is empty sky, and the hill is quite dark.

“Minimalist Landscape” by Gianluca Annicchiarico

Minimalism is often related to abstract work. This aerial image is a good example of minimalism and has elements of an abstract work. It is a landscape, but the distance from the subject reduces the detail to the essentials — blocks of color divided by lines.

“DSCF1740” by neil banas

When shooting this week, keep in mind that environmental elements that you may normally think of as unfavorable may work for you. In this image of a hay bale, the thick fog  helps to strip the subject down to the bare essentials, concealing other objects that may be in the background.

“Hay” by Donnie Nunley

Large stretches of sand or water can also lend themselves to a minimalist landscape image. In these cases, taking advantage of the textures, shadows, or horizon can lead to an interesting and stripped down result.

“White” by Éamonn O’Brien-Strain
“Untitled” by Tammisto

You could also try to incorporate objects from the built environment into a minimalist landscape image. This can give a photograph a sense of loneliness or isolation.

“Untitled” by Alexandre Legault

As always, please post/share a photo you take THIS WEEK. We love your old photos, but not for the challenge. The point of the PhotoChallenges is for you to set out to create a new photo, to share with us all this week. Share them with us all at our Google+ Community, Facebook Group, and/or our Flickr Group.

2009 Challenge, Day 12: Minimalism

Today’s theme for the 2009 Challenge is Minimalism.

Less is more. Simplify. Just the fundamental features. 


2+sand=empty by ~fernando
"2+sand=empty" by ~fernando



Once you’re ready to submit your work to Flickr, you’ve got to do two important things. First, make sure you tag your photos correctly; “2009challenge″. Also, if you haven’t already, join the PhotoChallenge group on Flickr. Then, submit each day’s photo to the group’s pool.


Minimal Is The New Black by Darwin Bell
"Minimal Is The New Black" by Darwin Bell
Morning Swim Minimalism by -ART-
"Morning Swim Minimalism" by -ART-