Minimalist street photography is probably my favorite of all. I live and work in Prague and therefore it is the place where I most often take pictures.
And what does a minimalist street photo mean? I do not think there must necessarily be people. Photographs may show various street still life, architectural details and many other things.
Minimalism in street photography – Underpass
Details on street minimalist photography
I photographed this minimalist photograph while waiting for a bus in Horní Měcholupy in Prague. I noticed that the old rusty side key is hanging on the fence. In addition, behind it was a bright blue building, probably a workshop. I set a low aperture number to make the background out of the depth of field and take a few photos.
And what can you learn from it? 1. Keep the camera always with you and for 2. look for not only unusual objects but also ordinary ones in an unusual position or in an unusual place. When you see interesting colors, you are winning!
Heart chairs – Street detail
Photos like this can be captured easily in any city. If you want peace of mind and nice light, go shoot in the morning. Cafes are still empty and you will have plenty of time to choose the nicest composition.
But it does not mean that you have to take pictures of all the outdoor seating you will meet. Choose only those that are special. Look for interesting colors, shadows, backgrounds, items on the table or other interesting things, such as painted hearts 🙂
People on minimalist street photography
When it comes to minimalist street photography, we usually imagine simple composition without people. Which is what I do most often. Sometimes I can still take a picture of a street where some people are 🙂 Below you can see some of my street photos. Although it is not true minimalism, I still hope you will like it.
Once when I went to the city to pick up my daughter from a theater performance, I set off a few hours before with my camera to walk around and to take some pictures. I had some plans to take a picture of a nice urban still life or a street minimalist photograph. However, I happened to hit the international Prague marathon just beginning.
Runners were about to start so I went along the track to find the best place to shoot. When I found it, I spent more than an hour waiting and then photographing the runners themselves. I shot some dozens of photos but unfortunately I could not make a single interesting photo. I was rather disappointed and set off for my daughter. On the way across the bridge, however, I met a runners again. They ran right beneath the bridge on which I went.
Thanks to the Olympus XZ-2’s tilting display, it was enough to stretch out my hands, wait for the best moment and take a few shots. Because it was later in the afternoon, the runners were throwing beautiful long shadows
And what to take from that for next time?
When shooting (not only minimalist street photos), look for the unusual angles and places from which you are shooting. In other words, do not go where everyone else (for example, right next to the runners) but rather take a shot from the bridge 🙂
Under the bridge – minimalism and concrete
Since 2010, the longest bridge in the Czech Republic is in operation in the south of Prague. The bridge runs through the valley with two rivers – Vltava and Berounka. The Radotín Bridge is more than 2 km long and consists of two identical bridges next to each other.
If you are driving along a bridge by car, you probably will not notice anything interesting. But if you are a photographer or a lover of concrete architecture, take a look below the bridge. There it is much more interesting. Directly below the bridge leads a path between the concrete columns. Over the rivers you can get across the pedestrian bridges, which also lead directly below the highway bridge.
The huge concrete pillars look impressive, and if you’re going to visit Prague and like to take photos, you can definitely come here. The bridge can be reached by bus or by car – you can arrive by car directly below the bridge.
On the photo below, you can see my son, Martin, standing between the concrete columns. Martin in the photo serves as a scale that shows the real size of the entire construction.
Tip: When you come as a tourist to the city, do not forget to visit (apart from the main sights) seemingly less interesting places. You will see and be able to take photos of things that most tourists will never see.
Lady in the metro station
This photo I photographed late tonight while waiting for the last subway. I do not know why, but I like the expression of this lady with a plastic bag. It seems to me a little like the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer.
Silhouette of a lone man
This black and white minimalist street photo shows the silhouette of a man walking through a narrow Prague street. The silhouette is located slightly out of the center of the image and there are no other people in the picture. Even though I photographed the photo in the very center of Prague, which is often crowded with tourists.
Tip: Even if you visit a very busy city, you can almost always find a quiet place without people. And that’s just what’s the key to (not only) minimalist photography. For example, in Prague, there is the so-called Royal Route which leads through Prague’s Old Town Square to Prague castle. This street is full of people all day long, but when you go just one or two aisles away, they are almost completely empty. Even in the biggest tourist season.
The woman walks along the waterfront
Once when I was photographed in Prague by the Vltava River, I was impressed by the girl who walked along the waterfront. She was already quite far away. Fortunately, I had a telephoto lens attached to the camera so I could take a picture of her. Since there were no interesting colors in the photo, I transferred it to black and white.
Tip: Do you often wonder whether to convert the photos to black and white or leave them colorful? There is a simple advice I recommend to follow. Everything in the photo should be there for some reason. Just ask yourself if the color in your photo has any meaning. If not, just take the photo to black and white. It’s easy, huh?
A girl in Ulaanbaatar
I photographed this photo in the summer of 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia. I spent 3 weeks here as a tourist guide so I did not have much time to take pictures. This photo of girls sitting on a small wall was created at one of the temples of the Gandan monastery complex (gandantegchenlin). It is the center of Mongolian Buddhism and in a busy city it is one of the few tranquil places.
Although it is not the most beautiful photo, there are a few things on it. It’s actually a few basic rules of photography in general:
- Striking colors on the background of the photo
- Horizontal and vertical lines
- “Framing” using two trees on the sides of the image
- The main subject of the photo (girl on the wall with mobile) is located outside the center of the photo by the rule of thirds
Railroad worker – Street photography minimalism
Because I go to work by train every day, you can often see on my photos trains, train stations or tracks. I write this here just to avoid thinking that I am a great lover of the railway 🙂
This photo captures a railway worker who does something with an electric cabinet. I photographed the photo on the way from work at the main railway station in Prague.
Concrete Cooling Tower
The following three minimalist photographs show the ventilation shafts of the Strahov tunnel in Prague. These are two high-rise towers located right next to the Strahov stadium – one of the largest stadiums in the world. It is again one of the places I often visit because of my children. Not far from here, my son is visiting an astronomical club for children.
The first photo, called “Bans”, shows the banner tables on a concrete background. There is a small pond around the tower that I have never seen soaked with water. For sure, there are some interesting signs that tell you what is prohibited to do with and in the water from the pond.
The structure of old concrete, which makes up most of the image, is well visible on the photo. I think this picture is a good example of street still life combined with minimalism.
The next minimalist photo captures the same place only from the other side. I called it “Man and ventilation shaft”. You can see a young man with a backpack, perhaps a tourist, sitting on the stairs leading to a pass between the two concrete towers. I choose the vertical format so that most of the photo area occupied by the concrete wall. The photo also shows the edge of the concrete pond about which I wrote above.
The last photo of those that came from the ventilation shafts of the Strahov tunnel is the latest. This minimalist photo I simply called “Concrete Wall”. Because I like the structure of the concrete, I wanted to create another photo on which would be a distinctive surface made of concrete.
When I once went to the Astronomical Club for my son, the afternoon sun was shining brightly. The space between the towers was beautifully lit while the rest remained in the shadows. The fractured shapes of the concrete structure created several different shades of gray.
Quick Tip: If you are interested in some nice place, try shooting it from different angles and preferably under different lighting conditions. You’ll see that you’ll discover a number of new ways to capture the subject.
Still life in street photography
The following photo was created, as usual, thanks to my children. When writing the content of this page, I realized for the first time that thanks to my children I had taken a number of interesting pictures. Even though it seemed to me that I did not have the time and opportunity to take pictures on any trip with children. This time I led my daughter Emma to a theater performance.
But back to the photo. This is a classic case of street still life. Today I would probably choose a little different composition, but still I like the picture.
Quick tip: Taking pictures in early morning or evening hours, when the sun is shining, you can take pictures of pretty and normal things which will look beautiful. For example, if you imagine this photo in the shade, there would be nothing interesting, and you probably would not even notice this formation on the street.
Photographing street art
Street art and graffity are popular in most modern cities. Some of the street artwork is imaginative and perfectly reflects the atmosphere of the place. They are also a very good subject for minimalist street photography.
I don’t care if you like me
The “I do not care if you like me shutup thanks” inscription under the picture of a gentle girl who looks at the sprayed inscriptions beside her just looks great. I photographed this work of art near Vltavská metro station in Prague.
Insurrection – The Golem
The poster with a portrait of Prague’s Golem (according to The Golem film of 1920) with a mad expression and inscription “insurrection” and in addition surrounded bysprayed inscriptions caught me at first glance. I photographed the photo right in the center of Prague.
Facades – The favorite theme of minimalist street photograph
Photos of various types of facades, building detail, windows or doors are a very popular discipline of minimalist street photography for me. Best is when you can take a photo that contains one or more of the following:
- Interesting colors and color combinations
- Interesting shapes and lines
- Interesting light and shadows
- Typical elements of local architecture
The yellow wall
The following two photographs came from one of my walks from Vinohrady to Nusle. Even though Prague is a wonderful city, I often feel that there are very few opportunities for colorful minimalist street photography. House facades, unlike, for example inSouth European cities are barely colorful and often gray. That’s why I was pleased when I came across a café with a deep yellow facade with red elements.
Both photos are from exactly the same place. First I photographed a horizontal photo of a yellow-red wall with a metal ventilation grille. But just a bit above was a painted heart. That’s why I made another vertical photo.
In the photo there’s the same things as in the horizontal photo. In addition, there is a heart and a gray part of the facade with an interesting plastic decoration.
Quick Tip: If, like me, you prefer to take a picture in landscape, always try the portrait. Sometimes you can take a better shot than you expected. And if not, at least you tried another composition.
This photo of the sun-filled door was taken directly at Prague Castle, one of the most visited places in the Czech Republic and all over Europe. Due to the fact that directly opposite is the Cathedral of St. Vitus, most of the tourists photograph it and forget the surrounding houses.
Blue town house
This photo I photographed in the picturesque Croatian town of Betina on the island of Murter. The colors and neglect of this house were beautiful and I had to take a picture of it. Unfortunately, the aisle was very narrow, so I did not have much room to choose the best composition. If I ever come back to this place, I’ll definitely go here again and try to make a better composition.