Sensuous Lips

Minimalism as Parts of the Whole


Minimalist Photo the Crop of a girls face, with focus on her lips.
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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I recently got a chance to shoot Ayushi. She is a stylist and a model herself. I wanted to try something new, so I decided to move really close to her. That closeness, gave me this face crop idea. To begin with, I decided to focus on her lips and tried to make it my only subject/element in the frame. I cropped out everything else. But that appeared too boring and mundane to me when I reviewed the shot on the camera screen. Therefore, I decided to include some extra elements in the frame. Those elements were a) the line of her nose and b) the curve of her chin. 

Once I got the shot, I knew, this would be heading straight into the "Parts of the Whole Minimalism" category on my blog. While editing the photo, I added some de-focus on the nose and chin area. This helped me put a stronger emphasis on the lips. The sensuality part, i.e. the expressions, was well taken care of by Ayushi, as she has had decent modelling exposure in the past.

The composition is relatively simple. I cropped Ayushi's face to about 1/3rd of the whole and added lots of negative space to the left. Extreme close-up shots do require some bit of skin touch-up. That some bit of skin-fixing took me about half an hour. 

Hope you enjoyed the shot. Please leave your feedback. Thank You.

Criss Cross

Minimalism as Simple Geometry 


Minimalist Photo of Lines criss crossing at Jawahar Kala Kendra Jaipur, on a sunny Sunday Afternoon.
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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This shot was taken on a Sunday afternoon, at Jawahar Kala Kendra yet again, as it is one of my favorite hangouts in Jaipur city. I am usually there for Coffee and to meet the umpteen talented and creative individuals. One would usually find theater artists, visual arts students, photographers, videographers, painters, writers, poets, fashion designers, product designers, philosophers, some enlightened beings and  minimalists like me there. 

We all inter-mingle and exchange thoughts over coffee or lemon tea. The vibes are so creative and the experience is one of its kind. I particularly like talking to this one friend of mine, Astha Sharma, who is like my spiritual guide. We discuss a lot of philosophy and spiritualism and I am always surprised by her knowledge. She also likes minimalist dressing, and her general sense of fashion is very good. Many a times I find myself discussing Minimalism in fashion with her & that really helps in understanding the genre as a whole. This particular arrangement of the cushions and the lines in the background, was done by Aman Bhaiya(also a photographer), Astha Sharma and Ayushi for a casual photo-shoot of theirs. I picked upon the arrangement once they were done. I knew I had my Minimal shot waiting for me. Simple Geometry is always way more appealing than other forms of Minimalism. especially when it is more about lines. Well, something about geometry you see. Also, I always jump quickly onto anything that involves light and shadow. The composition has been kept simple and a touch of intricacy has been added by making the lines criss cross

The other notable detail is that the out of focus lines i.e the cushion lines, are coming in from the left and the in-focus lines come in from the right or opposite directions, and that is the highlight of the photo.

Future Plans

Minimalism as Less Less Elements


Minimalist Photo of Torn posters on an Indian Wall
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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There is a popular theory doing the rounds these days. "Living in the Now". 

It says, that one should neither think of (or be in) the past nor he/she should ponder or bother too much about the future. One should just live in the present moment. Like for example, while I am writing this post, my focus should entirely be on the post and nowhere else. One should stay with a single thought at a time or a single activity. I did try this approach out and it helped me bring down my stress levels

But, there is a problem with this approach. What about the future? I mean, is it still possible to plan for a future and work towards the achievement of that goal despite "living in the now"? A plan is something via which, you try and force an outcome sometime in the future. The results, may or may not be as expected. Expectations, generally cause insecurity and therefore produce way too many thoughts in the mind. 

My question is this, if one chooses to live moment to moment or in the now, can he still plan for the future? If yes, the then how does this theory integrate the planning/goal setting aspect?.

Lets get back to the photo. It reminds me of the conversation I had with my uncle from US, on future plans. He asked me this, "Where do you see yourself 5 years from now. What is your plan?" and my answer to him was a question in return, "Can you say for sure, that you will wake up tomorrow morning, forget about the future.?" He was surprised by my answer and I further added in response, "I can only work hard, and that is all. I have not seen the future, nor it is under my control. If I start believing, that I have some control over it, that is as good as having an illusion. The unexpected always happens and that's what life is all about. If, it can be predicted or steered the way you want to, it cant be termed Life." 
Note: to some extent you do play a part in affecting your life, but that is very minuscule. 

So these posters are like those future plans, that mostly never work out and therefore are torn.
The shot as you see, has been composed from a side angle, that I usually prefer. The blue back of the green poster made me choose this poster from the many available, as it gave me an interesting color palette. Also, everything is kept pretty sharp in the frame. It is very tempting to use a shallow depth of field on such angles but in Minimalist Photography, keeping everything sharp is most ideal. And next time, I will try and choose a neutral language on the poster( like English) rather than a regional one.


Note: Do check my sales website prakash-ghai.pixels.com
I sell my photos via the Pixels.com USA tie-up. Photos are printed in the US and they ship worldwide

Radiate Love

Minimalism as Simple Geometry


A Minimalist Photo of a White Indian Wall using simple geometric shapes and light and shadow.
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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Radiate Love, to find it back. Yes and No. Yes, because that's the rule of nature and No, because when you do such a thing solely  for the purpose of getting love back in return, then it is more like a business transaction. The moment there is want or greed in your mind, what returns to you, is  usually "nothing".  

Why I mention this, is a) it took me some time to get this thing in my head, right.  Now, that I know about it, I am happy to share this with you all. And b) A lot of people today say, that the world is bad and abundant with selfish people. Well, there is a reason for that. Most people want to do a transaction, rather than loving others purely. And because in return they usually get  "nothing" they, themselves have become selfish, and have labelled others as unloving and mean.  What I want to say is, that love purely, love completely, look for nothing in return. 

People say, I love her, she is mine or I love him, he is mine. Well, nothing is yours. Nothing was yours to begin with too, and nor shall anything be ever yours. You are living in an illusion, if you believe so. Tell me, what is it that you can actually call your own? Tell me, give me one example. I bet you can't, as there is nothing.
So, let's decide, that for whatever little time, we are in this world, lets love each other, without conditions, without expectations. Love heals. Let us heal the world together and for good.  
Note: I actually related this picture to love as "white as a color represents purity, and purity is something usually related to love." 
Also Note: Radiate pure love, make it your default setting. 

Back to the composition, this is Minimalism as Simple Geometry. What we have here is, one vertical rectangle on the left and its shadow casted on the right. The composition is fairly simple as it should be. White Minimalism, is always more appealing as well as pleasing to look at.  The tough part here is not the composition, rather, the challenge in such photos is to be able to find these kind of white walls. They have become so uncommon these days. I remember when I was a kid, usually on the Diwali Festival, my parents used to get my entire house white-washed or painted in white. But, later even that changed to "just any new paint" not necessarily white, it usually off-white now.  At least, in the city where I live in i.e Jaipur, it is extremely difficult to spot such walls. The most usual wall color is, either yellow or orange(pink-ish orange).

The Tring-Tring Era

Minimalism as Parts of the Whole



A Minimalist Photo of Shadow of a bicycle on a yellow Indian wall.
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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If you carefully observe the shadow of the bicycle, you would find a small circular "cycle bell" with a lever on its side. This, acts as a horn and comes very handy on a busy day on the streets. These traditional Indian bicycles, still run on Indian roads, but now you can spot only a handful of them, thanks to the tremendous growth India as a country has witnessed in the last couple of decades. The "cycle bell" makes a really pleasant "Tring-Tring" sound, when the lever is pulled

When I was a kid, streets of Jaipur used to be flooded with such bicycles and this was the most common mode of transportation. Very few people had the luxury of owning cars or a two-wheeler. Those were the golden days. So less traffic, very little air and noise pollution. Less of buildings, more of farms and empty pieces of land, spread out over thousands of acres. Everything was slow, calm and peaceful. Indeed "less is more" or "being happy with less" was the default mantra then. I am talking about life that existed about 25 years ago. No Television sets, no cellphones, no Air conditioners, only transistors to listen to FM radio. People used to visit their neighbors for recreation/chats, cooking food together. We trusted people so easily, also lent money to them without fear. If someone had an accident, we never used to think before we act, unlike today, for our default setting was helping others, being kind and generous. The doctors we like gods, so humble, so polite, so helpful. The teachers were Gurus. Also food, milk and sweets, were mostly unadulterated, for people in that era were mostly honest, ethical and full of virtues. The most popular evening hangout, I remember, used to be, walks in public parks. Gardening/watering the plants, was also one of the preferred passtime. 

Now, things are completely different. The world has changed so much. Sadly, it has changed for the worse. I miss those days and wonder, if we could somehow, return to that "Tring-Tring Era"

Wouldn't that be fascinating? Returning back to an era, when even "Mondays were beautiful".

This photo is Minimalism as Parts of the whole. Here the photographer shows only a cropped part of the central subject in the photo, and makes the viewer imagine, how the subject would have looked in entirety, if it hadn't been cropped. As you can see, a semi-circle has been carefully carved out from the front tyre of the bicycle to achieve such a purpose. The crop has been placed on the extreme right, following the rules of thirds. The shadow of the bicycle on the wall acts like a hint given, in a quiz contest. Also note, that the triangle made with the crop of the floor, on bottom right, is also on purpose. Our minds sub-consciously reacts in a more favorable manner to geometry. The photo becomes more powerful, with the semi-circle and triangle in conjunction.

More Bicycle Photographs:

  • Bicycle Bench Lines 

     

  • Bicycle Tyre versus the Rectangle 

     

  • Option A versus B 

     

  • The Get-together

The bird that wished she never had wings

Minimalism as Less Elements


A Minimalist Photo of a sparrow sitting on a metal fence in front of Jal Mahal Jaipur.
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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She was leading a simple life. It used to be fun to fly to unexplored places every morning and be back by the evening to rest in the nest. The nest that she had rebuilt with a lot of effort. When she was young a vulture had killed all her family and destroyed their nest. She was the sole survivor. As time passed she became very strong and everything was good for quite a while. Then one fine morning she decided to fly very far, to a place where she had never been. There she made friends with a bird and soon fell in love with him. Suddenly her life changed and it was all so very beautiful. She made up her mind and decided to fly back to him, confess everything and be together with him for the rest of her life. That day was special indeed, everything was perfect until a storm hit and soon there was rain. They both decided to protect themselves and therefore flew to a nearby tree which had a hole in it. They both were lost in love and therefore they could not sense the danger that is always imminent from other predatory birds. There was an attack and it was a vulture again. She managed to save her life but the love of her life was lost. She was devastated and broken. The fence she is sitting at is near the tree where the attack took place. Three days have passed but she hasn't moved an inch. She regrets flying to this place. This would have never happened if she never had wings is what she concluded. So she gave up on flying forever and decided that she will be at the fence, till she loses her consciousness. 

Back to the photo. The photo was taken at 7.17 am. As you can see the sun was pretty bright so to cut down the light I used an aperture value of f/11 on my camera. I was on my 50mm 1.4 canon prime lens. I was pretty close to the bird and therefore I dint want to go beyond f/11. To cut down the light further I set the shutter to 1/4000 sec. The ISO speed was 400. Since I was shooting in the Full Manual Mode like I always do, I had to move my fingers very fast or else the bird would have flown away before I was at the right camera settings. In hindsight, I could have done better with an ISO speed of 100 and adjusting the shutter accordingly, If the subject wasn't a bird I would have delivered on that, just a slight miss but there is always a next time. 

Composition is Minimalism as Less Elements. Here we have two or lets say three elements including the fence. Frame is simplistic with two thirds negative space on the top.

Bicycle Bench Lines

Minimalism as Parts of the Whole 


A Minimalist Photo of a Bicycle parked near a bench against a yellow wall
Photo By © Prakash Ghai
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As you can see, the photo contains three elements but here I am not trying to show Minimalism as Less Elements as a type here. The elements, although are decent enough for a minimalist photo but they are too zoomed-in, too big in size and give more of a maximal feel. The photo is still minimal though. 

Simple geometry(four vertical lines) as a Type of Minimalism in Photography has been used (partially) along with the type "Minimalism as Parts of the Whole". So you can say its more of a fusion of two types of Minimalism in Photography. 

Well, Parts of the Whole Minimalism is when a part of the subject is clipped on purpose and the viewer is made to imagine as to how the complete object would have looked like if there was no clipping/cropping done. Now, lets get into more detail, If I had taken this shot last year, I would have used only the four vertical lines in the frame along with the partial tyre of the bicycle restricting the elements to a total of two. But since I have grown over time and have taken a lot of those shots earlier, this time I decided to include the bench as well and clipped that too so that the mind of the viewer is led into deeper imagination. If we look at the bench with a view to see shapes then it is a rectangle and the same way the tyre of the bicycle is an arc.

More Bicycle Photographs:

  • Bicycle Tyre versus the Rectangle 

     

  • The Tring-Tring Era 

     

  • Option A versus B 

     

  • The Get-together