Tuscany in central Italy is home to some of the most stunning landscapes that have been enticing artists for centuries. Its sweeping sceneries once depicted in Renaissance paintings are the same ones sought after by landscape photographers today.
They have also inspired photographers to come up with remarkable ways to capture their beauty, as was the case with the minimalist photography of Munich-based Roland Krämer. One particular spot caught his eye and got him wanting to document it with his own approach: Val d’Orcia and its gentle rolling hills.
After a quick glance through this series and learning a bit about Roland, I can totally see where the fascination came from. As someone who has a strong connection to nature, leaning toward documenting nature was inevitable for him. He also found his own mark in minimalism and abstract visuals to reveal the beauty in simplicity. All of these came together and enabled him to craft this outstanding body of work.
Charmed by the Italian “desert”
According to his project statement, Roland first learned about the legendary landscapes of Tuscany three years ago through the “Tuscany From Above” aerial series of Hungarian photographer Gabor Nagy. Fascinated by the vast landscapes that prove perfect for minimalist photography, he was intrigued at how the landscapes made him feel.
“I knew I had to see this region with my own eyes at some point. This series by Gabor Nagy inspired my for my own approach in documenting one of the most beautiful parts of Tuscany: The Val d’Orcia.”
Fast-forward to recent times, Roland was finally able to realize his dream during a road trip to Italy. He spent three days roaming around Val d’Orcia looking for unique compositions and angles in different light conditions. He ended up shooting during the middle of the day, with the strong contrast separating the different layers of his minimalist compositions.
“During the production of this series I focused intensely on searching for minimalistic and reduced compositions of the Tuscan hillsides. I wanted to portray the vastness of the area through showing less. I also wanted to highlight the abstract patterns of the dried out earth structures and plant life through using high focal lengths (mostly around 200-400mm) during the creation of the series.”
Shaping the Italian “desert”
Through this minimalist approach, Roland was able to craft an interesting visual interpretation of the landscapes. “It was hot. It was dry. It was vast. That’s how the Val d’Orcia appeared to me. It almost felt like being in a desert.”
I think this idea perfectly fits the visual effect he was going after with his abstract and minimalist approach. The dried out slopes do appear like sandy dunes, and the trees punctuating it give the impression of an oasis somewhere in the vastness of the Italian “desert.” The tight framing and carefully calculated angles in some shots also work great in creating the illusion of the landscape appearing more vast than it really is.
Roland’s “Italian Desert” is yet another outstanding example of how minimalist photography can open us to unique perspectives on the world around us. If you’re yet to try a minimalist approach to your photography, you might want to take some notes from this impressive body of work.
All photos by Roland Krämer. Used with Creative Commons permission.