Fine Art Photography

Abstract Photography – Understanding The Abstract Side

Every century, billions of dollars, comprised of both money and merchandise, are traded in the name of art. One of the most popular types of art, which includes paintings, drawings and photographs, is that of the abstract variety. In fact, a popular sentiment in the art world is that most art galleries and exhibits, including photography events, would not be complete without a section depicting abstract varieties of art.

Every century, billions of dollars, comprised of both money and merchandise, are traded in the name of art.  One of the most popular types of art, which includes paintings, drawings and photographs, is that of the abstract variety.  In fact, a popular sentiment in the art world is that most art galleries and exhibits, including photography events, would not be complete without a section depicting abstract varieties of art.

Abstract art courses are some of the most popular and well-attended courses offered at universities all over the world.  Students and photographers alike, have tried, at one time or another, to vent their thoughts and interpretations of things they see, using this form of expression, made famous by some very notable artists.  Every person, at some point in his or her life, has had a brush with this genre of photography, or has at least appreciated or collected abstract photographs, perhaps not even knowing it.

Abstract Photography And Individual Interpretation

Like all unique and complex parts of life, specifically parts that are subject to individual interpretation, there have been, and shall continue to be, endless debates on the subject of abstract photography, and if it can be defined as “art.”

Abstract, by definition, denotes what can be interpreted from something, but cannot necessarily be seen.  The art form is agreeable complex and difficult to understand.  Despite its complex nature, it still attracts hordes of art critics and art collectors from every corner of the globe, each of who have their own interpretations that accompany the paintings they critique.  Abstract photography, much like the same art genre, draws the same popularity and debate, except the subjects are captured with a camera and not with paint and a brush.

It is difficult to give abstract art an exact definition, but it is basically correct to say that there are no set rules or normal parameters for creating such art, be it painting or photography.  As long as a piece of work appeals to the eye, the rules are simple, in that “anything goes.”  The photographic technique is used to capture any event in a close up, subtle way such as a drop of water splattering in a pool, or a piece of rope, close-up to look like a striated bundle, and other similar compositions.  As long as it is captured correctly on film, the composition does not matter, as interpretation of the art may come later.

In order to successfully take abstract photographs, a high-speed, professional grade camera is necessary.  If the camera uses film and is not a digital variety, then special high-speed film is also a necessity.  Black and white film, or monochrome photographs give the best results for abstract photographic art.

There are three basic rules to keep in mind while taking abstract photographs:

  • Conventional photographic principles including shutter speed, aperture, focusing, film speed and lighting effects must be perfectly understood.
  • Telephoto lenses, close-up lenses and flashes are part of trick effects one usually wishes to create.
  • Color, black and white, speed in ASA or DIN film types, remote shooting, shadow hoods, filter lenses and tri-pod stands are often used and many times a necessity to abstract photography.

A photographer who has a scientific streak in them, as well as being a true artist is the type of person needed to successfully create abstract photographs.

Composing the perfect shot requires the artist in the individual, while taking the photograph requires the technician in the individual.  Together, in a single individual, the imagination should know no bounds and the results should reflect the person’s creativity to their full capacity.

I hope this has been an eye opener for you in some way,

Ray Baker