We know art can have a million different faces. From traditional approaches to ultra-abstract forms – and so much more in-between. On top of that, we possess various tools and techniques that allow us to showcase our art and express certain feelings. All this in hopes that it will evoke similar emotions in the beholder. Simplicity and repetition are powerful tools.

Vivid, living, colorful and seemingly wild art is exhilarating and draws the observer in. It lets his imagination and senses run wild. However, it can quickly lead to an over-stimulization of the mind. Hence, an approach of “less is more” can be refreshing and utterly calming. It doesn’t mean, though, that a work of art – a painting or photograph, for instance – is of lesser value. On the contrary: It’s the art of repeating and simplifying things to achieve a different, oftentimes deeper, effect.

Seeing More in Less – Imagination and Simplicity

Black and White Trees

A black and white photograph of trees and a clear line evoking peace and serenity.

At first sight, this photo might appear static. And maybe it is. Yet, when you really take a moment to look at it, break through its surface, there’s more to it. It draws you in, allows you to get calmer, and recognize the imperfectly perfect (a-)symmetry of the trees. Could they not symbolize our lungs that we fill with air every second of the day? Because: Trees are life. Even more, they are the lungs of our world, the roots of our existence.

Marveling at a simplistic photograph like this is anything but boring if you open your mind. There is a focus object against a neutral, plain background. This minimalist approach, however, encourages us to have a “wider”, much deeper view. The horizontal line brings in clarity and structure that subconsciously calms us down. Using a gray and white color palette helps with the classic, soothing look. We underestimate how color, shape, and structure can contribute to our inner peace.

Simplicity is the glory of expression. – Walt Whitman

Less is more – and allows for our imagination to wander further. When gazing at this image, the moment seems to freeze. We realize that the world around us can stop for a little while. Maybe we can even feel our mind and soul aligning. Our inner self slows down. It is almost therapeutically still.

We enter our own little, peaceful bubble centered around this soothing photograph. What power it exudes, though. The cleaner the lines, the less objects in focus, the more room there is for us to simply imagine. Interpret. WanderFeel.

Pattern on Repeat – Structure

As human beings, we can only take in so much before losing focus. Just like in our daily lives where everything seems to move faster; where there’s an abundance of stimuli; where we do numerous things at the same time until we seem to lose any kind of structure. Our senses can’t take it. We lose track – and then try to cram even more into a 24-hour day. Our focus on one thing is clearly lost.

However, focus is what photography can provide – focusing on a minimal amount of objects with a clear pattern, for a greater effect and better attention from the beholder. And certainly, leaving out objects to highlight the essence of a thing is an art in itself.

In this photo, the boats exude structure and alignment. The white against a conservative matte-red background of a house facade with repeated patterns (windows) helps our minds to find a focal point – clarity – again.

Our eyes see structure and order. As our lives seem hectic enough, we tend to overlook the actual patterns that do, in fact, exist in our immediate environment. If only we looked for those a little more closely, we wouldn’t perceive our surroundings as such a chaos. Because after all, there is order in the everyday ordinary things surrounding us.

Repetitive Colors – A Refreshed Mind

Colors can be medicine to our eyes and, ultimately, our minds. Perfectly capturing them in a photograph can almost have a healing effect – if only the right colors are depicted. Fact is, colors in connection with patterns, or complete asymmetry, can have dramatically different effects on our emotions. The blue and white color patterns in this photo have a calming effect and evoke feelings of serenity. The neatly lined up deck chairs provide the needed clear lines. Consequently, there is no clutter and our minds are clear. The pulse slows down. Embrace it.

We have a chance to let go of the stress. Even though this image lays out patterns and structure so wonderfully, it is not static, due to the blue sea. Don’t you feel the breeze in your face, the sun on your skin? We have room to breathe, to refresh our minds. Relax. Immerse yourself in this photograph and let it take control over your feelings – instead of trying to control them yourself.