“Minimalist” Photos of Ricardo Elisiário


Photo of church at sunset
Devoted Sunset, Roca Cape, Sintra, 2016

Photography for me started as a hobbyist’s yearning for perfectionism and how to depict it using one of the simplest formats—the photograph—rather than any real try at becoming a professional.

Over five years ago, Instagram and an inexpensive smartphone paved my way into this realm of scenes, colors and shapes. Mostly my most private bliss when capturing the moments led me to continue and eventually get my first and only DSLR, the beginner’s Nikon D3300 and its standard kit lens.

And although as a photographer it’s difficult to rely exclusively on the art in it, the art of photography is exactly what draws me to it and the balance that keeps me true to my minimalistic approach in taking photographs.

Photo of plant with sky as background
Glowing Love, Albarraque, Sintra, 2019


Armed with the analytical mind natural to an agricultural engineer who rejoices with living minimally, my methodical MO reflects in my photography too. I try to see everything as is and reflect it through the photos without artificialities, retouching or composite work. I never go beyond the option of tweaking light and color, or sometimes preferring monochrome. Anything too fabricated isn’t appealing to me.

Black and white photo of man on cell phone
Cold Calling, Amália Rodrigues Garden, Lisbon, 2019


I take inspiration from the only one I deeply admire, the Brazilian economist and social documentary photographer Sebastião Salgado. I ventured into shooting in black and white only, for a few weeks, after recognizing much truth in what Salgado explains as the adoption of monochrome being the ultimate abstraction that allows one to focus on the subject, obliterating the undeserved distraction that color often introduces. And even though soothing and extremely minimal, I couldn’t imagine always depriving myself from the possibility of color and the depiction of things as they are; we see in color after all.

Photo of man standing in street
Accurate Representation, Marquis of Pombal Square, Lisbon, 2019
Photo of man stanind by train tracks
Foreign Cousin, Campolide Train Station, Lisbon, 2019


Another rule of mine is to never crop a photo. Most importantly because photography has always been a play of occasion and timing, depending on when I choose to release the shutter. When I take a photograph, I’m obsessed with the composition, the straightness of the lines and what I know I want to leave out. All that will be captured (within) should by default be of interest.

Many people sitting on public bench
Interracial Meetup, Campolide Train Station, Lisbon, 2020
Photo of couple overlooking beach
Laying Low, Cape Roca, Sintra, 2016
Two flowers in foreground of photo of two women
Two Flowers, Gulbenkian Park, Lisbon, 2019


I’ve mostly been photographing street scenery and nature. My draw to wide angle scenes may be explained by my limited gear, and also because as a photographer, I wander in anonymity, keeping some distance from my subjects.

All the while, I use this personal trait to turn my photography into a more comprehensive portrayal of not only the subjects in focus—who I think will be at their most genuine state if unaware of the photographer—but the essence of the surrounding setting, for the places we walk and are found living in add unique personality to the final image.

My work is thus built on candid shots that are most challenging for me, especially when aiming to capture a moment that not even the subjects know they’re acting out. I deem this observational photography, photographing whatever I observe, without asking for more though many times wishing or awaiting for it, in discreet silence.

Closeup photo up droplet on leaf
Mercurial Drops, Albarraque, Sintra, 2016

Featured flag image above: Different Worlds, Eduardo VII Park, 2019

Ricardo Elisiário
A freelance writer and photographer, Ricardo Elisiário’s work has been featured in digital magazines and online publications. More personal projects can be found at his website. Elisiário currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

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