Abstract Photography
(Part 2 of Abstract Photographers)

Where Did the Elephant Go?

Abstract photography allows the lens to focus so acutely that we see the wrinkles but do not recognize the elephant in the picture.

The repetition of objects photographed from some unusual or distant vantage point produce rhythmic colour.


And allowing the lens to blur reality dissolves an object beyond recognition into pure colour and amorphous shapes. The abstract photographer thus makes a picture meant for pure visual sensation.

abstract with wine - a photograph

Above: Abstract with Wine: Photo by Shakespearesmonkey, Courtesy of Flickr

A good example of contemporary abstract photographers work can be seen in the picture above. The image evokes tactile sensations through the over-lapping of plum-coloured tones, both cool and warm.  Texture and colour recede or advance the planes of the picture.  But in fact what we are viewing is the abstraction of wine stains, with still-liquid Chianti glazing the surface.

Another example  can be seen in Rich Cobalt  (below). Here the lines are simple curves, the surface is rich and glossy, and the colour makes this photograph into a cool blue abstract. This photo is of the inside of a cobalt blue mug, yet one can easily see how this same concept of closing in on an object could apply to a lamb's ear, the treads of a black rubber tyre, or melting ice-cream.

abstract photograph of the inside of a cobalt blue  mug

Above: Rich Cobalt Blue: Photo by Cobalt123, Courtesy of Flickr

The final example below is angular and rhythmically appealing.  Colour is muted, allowing our eyes to focus upon geometric forms and pulsating perspective created by light and shadow.  The photographer took advantage of a shuttered room at sunset while on vacation.

abstract photograph light shadow

Above: Abstract Light and Shadow: Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna (Photo: Mo Elnadi, Courtesy of Flickr)

Where Did the Boundaries Go?

In a digital age, when we are able to view our photographs with great immediacy, abstract photography is especially gratifying for beginners. There are no boundaries except for those you impose upon yourself.  Don't allow your camera to gather dust while you await an event to document, for most certainly the material for abstract images surrounds you.

The arts are like sisters - each maintains her individuality, while sharing with one or more of the other sisters' common attributes.  The study of aesthetics, in part, questions the relationships among the sister arts.  As viewers of art, we are logically drawn to see painting and photography as similar: most of our experience tells us that pictures - drawn, painted, or photographed - depict places, persons, or things.

Pictures that seem to resemble nothing, that are all shapes or colours or shadow and light, fall into abstraction.  Abstract images can be playful, sharply focused or blurred; and revealing detail so fine or so far away as to be incomprehensible.

Because it lacks depiction and does not document anything, abstract photography lends itself well to beginning photographers who like to experiment as much as to advanced abstract photographers who have developed a love of line, shape, colour and tone for the beauty that is inherent in these formal qualities.

To read Part 1 of Abstract Photography, just click the link.

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