The Interactive Power of Minimal Art

Sometimes, we find our way not with a compass and map, but by selectively perceiving critical elements of a scene.  Here, I strive for ‘minimal’ in the art and aesthetic sense yet with enough information points to guide our thoughts forward. As we engage the scene, our senses awaken. Then our experiences, memories and imagination connect the dots. 

I'm excited to share the inaugural collection of images in my Shoreline Series, featuring familiar elements of shore living captured in the haunting stillness of morning fog. 

Essex Dock in September Fog  by Mark Roger Bailey

Essex Dock in September Fog by Mark Roger Bailey

A dock in morning fog creates a compelling challenge to tell a story with limited information or detail.  The viewer’s vision and experience fill in missing information and complete the artwork.

In this image, is that a boat dock? Is it floating in suspended light? Or is the mirror image simply a reflection in still water? Where does the dock disappear into the water? Where is the background? Hint: It is obscured in fog. If I have composed for the right clues and infused enough passion and vision, the art work will connect us to experiences in our lives and perhaps touch our dreams and imagination. Hopefully, in this way, it speaks to us on a level beyond words or description.

Essex Dock in September Fog is minimal, yet not quite minimalist. To be minimalist would require a distillation of all color to absolute black, absolute white and geometric shapes.  This work includes shades of gray, natural light gradients and perceptible patterns, such as the grain in the wood pilings, details that enrich my experience of the scene and I hope yours, too. 

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View my Shoreline Series and please stop by my Gallery Shop to consider a special series of signed and numbered limited-edition prints for the collector. A miniature print of a tall ship would make a wonderful gift for yourself or a thoughtful surprise for a friend.    

Fine Art Photography

Can Photography Be Considered Art?

Yes, art photography exists. It is rising in influence across cultural boundaries and is growing in sophistication among established and emerging collectors.  

WHAT IS FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY?

Art photography is photography that is planned and executed as fine art. The art photographer uses his or her knowledge, skills and aspirations to express his/her perceptions and emotions to viewers and collectors. In this sense, the camera becomes what John Steinbeck described as an "extension of mind and heart."

Just as impressionist paintings were considered to be experimental and at odds with traditional art norms at one time, photography - now nearly 200 years old - has also suffered the growing pains and critical resistance that other emerging art forms experienced. Selected styles and forms of photography have experimented, matured and tested themselves against traditional styles and forms of visual fine art.

View from the Window at Le Gras (1827) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

View from the Window at Le Gras (1827) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

Earliest surviving camera photograph.  Louis Daguerre's image of a man receiving a shoeshine on a Paris street utilizing his daguerreotype process occurred in 1838.

Rebecca A. Moss, Coordinator of Visual Resources and Digital Content Library, via email. College of Liberal Arts Office of Information Technology, University of Minnesota. http://www.dcl.umn.edu, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=107219

Just as there are many styles of artistic painting - abstract art, surrealism, conceptual, pop, photorealism, hyperrealism, minimalism, futurism, impressionism - there are many kinds of photography. Purely objective photography, such as scientific and documentary. Photojournalism, such as Mathew Brady and Dorothea Lange. Candid or Street Photography, such as Cartier-Bresson. Art, such as some of the work by Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams.

The Steerage  (1907) 19.7 x 15.8 cm by Alfred Stieglitz

The Steerage (1907) 19.7 x 15.8 cm by Alfred Stieglitz

In his book, Road to Seeing,  Dan Winters cites The Steerage as an early work of artistic modernism that many historians consider to be the most important photograph ever made.  

Fashion by Horst and Rodney Smith. Portraits by Brigitte Lacombe. And waterscapes by Gerard Bret

Insolite  by Gerard Bret (France)

Insolite by Gerard Bret (France)

Many of the most striking, accomplished and individual works have emerged as enduring forms of visual representation that are rightly regarded as art. The best among these have risen to a level where they engage, connect and are valued, respected and collected as fine artworks. The arts and art goods markeplace is growing, as indicated by consumer expenditures on arts and cultural-related goods in the United States in 2013 (the last year for which comprehensive statistics are available) were $151.7 billion, which was up 17.6% since 2000. Visual art is but one aspect of culture-related goods, yet an increasingly significant contributor.

Most importantly for me, fine art photography improves our environments - our work, social and living spaces. Art of all kinds, including fine art photography, supports the best in ourselves and others, communicates across cultural divisions, records history-in-progress, and shares stories in compelling ways that free us to experience new pathways to personal development. Art helps us discover our 'best self' in the Emersonian sense. Fine art - including fine art photography - gives form to our vision and aspirations.

Support art.