Minimalism and the Art of Photography

Embrace the freedom of limitation

John P. Weiss

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Photo by Conner Weiss

I have a serious passion for classic black-and-white photography, and I blame my friend Sean in New Zealand.

Sean runs a successful online business, and a few years back we connected over our mutual love for cartooning. Then Sean introduced me to his passion for photography. Particularly, black and white photography.

Sean and I have never met in person.

As much as I criticize social media for its predatory algorithms, mediocrity, and consumptive harm, I admit it makes things easier for like-minded people to meet, share passions, and collaborate. That’s what happened with Sean and me.

The simplicity and elegance of black-and-white imagery

Before meeting Sean, I had little interest or experience with photography beyond the evidence photos I took in my law enforcement career, and the selfies and family shots we all capture on our smartphones. But I developed a growing appreciation for the simplicity and elegance of black-and-white imagery. And I trace that aesthetic predilection to three people: Jeremy Mann, Brian Gardner, and Joshua Becker.

Jeremy Mann is a fine artist whose cityscapes and figurative oil paintings are produced with muted color and monochrome. I bought two of his figurative paintings to inspire me in my home office/studio.

My two Jeremy Mann paintings

Jeremy builds his own Polaroid cameras to photograph models for his paintings. The photos are monochromatic with an ethereal quality I find pleasing.

In a photography and film world full of razor-sharp focus, garish color, and clarity, there’s something appealing about soft, desaturated, dreamlike images. American director Antoine Fuqua’s beautifully filmed movie, Emancipation, is a good example of this.

Brian Gardner is a Chicago-based designer, coder, and WordPress expert. We met online a few years back when I was designing my website. Brian is a minimalist who often favors black-and-white imagery and elegant fonts to create stunning…

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John P. Weiss

I write stories and essay about life, often illustrated with my photography and artwork. JohnPWeiss.com.