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.

About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.

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