2021 WEEK 50: Holiday-inspired Minimalism

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” – Paulo Coelho

Christmas by Kent Landerholm
This photo obviously has a Christmas theme and the nearly monotone color as well as the negative space gives it a very minimalistic feel.

The holidays (at least in the USA) are often a time of excess – excess food, shopping, decorations, parties, etc. So I thought it would be interesting to look for simplicity within what often feels like chaos at this time of the year. This will also be my last photochallenge write-up for a while and I realized that the very first challenge I participated in was a minimalist challenge, so it feels like a full-circle moment for me.

Workspace with a notepad on red and white background by Marco Verch
Feel free to arrange your own elements to create a flat lay or still life. While this photo is not technically a holiday photo, I could argue that it feels that way because of the red/white color scheme with the splash of green – though maybe I might choose to replace the plant with a glass of milk to go with the cookies. 😉

This week I want you to take a minimalist photo inspired by the holidays around this time of the year: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice – or any other holiday celebrated in your part of the world at this time of the year. One approach to this week’s challenge is to take a photo of an actual object that is associated with the holidays: decorations, candles, cookies, etc. It might take some thinking as to how to photograph such a subject in a minimalist style, but consider lots of negative space, large color blocks, etc.

B&W Cookie Squircle by Lori L. Stalteri
Cookies and the color green could be construed as holiday-inspired.

Another approach to this week’s challenge is to go the abstract route using colors, shapes, etc. that are often associated with the holidays. For example, Christmas might inspire red/green or gold/silver while Hanukkah might inspire blue/white/silver. Evergreen trees which are associated with at least a couple of holidays at this time of the year can be abstracted to triangular shapes. Christmas ornaments are often spheres, though finial ornaments are leaf-shaped and icicles are long, skinny, upside-down triangles.  

Introversion by Evelyn Berg
Very red and very abstract. Again, not technically a holiday photo, but it falls within this week’s theme of “holiday-inspired.”

Another way to simplify complexity is by removing color, i.e. B&W. Not every black and white photo is minimalist (far from it!), but feel free to use B&W or monotone as one of your tools for achieving a minimalist photo this week.

Out of the Darkness by Steven Guzzardi
I removed the color from the original version of this photo, but I think the essence is preserved in B&W.

If you need some reminders about what Minimalism is and how to apply it to photography, I refer you to some of our previous minimalist challenges and the additional links they contain:

Fold by Sam Cox
Another abstract image (in gold) that could fall within the holiday-inspired minimalism theme. Draped fabric can create beautiful abstract forms of light & shadow and there are many fancy fabrics such as velvet, sparkles, etc. that make an appearance at this time of the year.

This week’s challenge summary:

  • Take a minimalist photo inspired by the holidays this time of the year.
  • Feel free to be creative with your interpretation this week, but please make sure to explain your thought process when you post your photo or we may flag it as not following the theme if we can’t figure out the connection.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, December 12 and Saturday, December 18.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo: #2021photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2021 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa