Simplicity at its Finest


Book by Viviane Sassen. Picture taken in 2014.


Book by Viviane Sassen is a very simple photograph. It looks like the photographer just set a book on the ground and took the picture. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the simplest photographs can tell the most complex stories. Since there is not a lot going on in the picture, that leaves the viewer with a lot of questions, like “Why is the book outside?”, “What kind of book is it?”, and “Why is the book partially opened like it is instead of closed or opened completely?”. If there was more detail, then there would not be this air of mystery that the photo emanates that makes it so interesting.

Another reason why this photograph being so simple is not a bad thing is because this photo is a prime example of one of the five characteristics listed in The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski- The thing itself. This characteristic of photographs is defined by the picture focusing on one particular object and the picture usually being named after the object photographed. Even though this photograph is just a picture of a book, there are still some artistic qualities to it, like the lighting. Having the book mostly in the shade except for some small patches of light creates an interesting look for the photo and also makes the book itself look more interesting. On one of the open pages, you can see some of the light hitting it, as well as the shadow of another page as well, which creates contrast and adds depth to the photograph. So in conclusion, a photograph does not have to be complex to be interesting and even the simplest photos can have mysterious and artistic qualities about them.




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