3 Examples Of Abstract Photography That Were Game Changers

Man standing near railing in building

Do you ever feel astounded by the beauty of the world around you and have the desire to possess it in more than your own memory? This urge to capture the life and beauty around us is what leads many to the realm of photography as taking a picture is the closest we can get to crystallizing a breathtaking view or a beautiful memory. Photography is traditionally an art form that focuses on realism and attempts to display objects, scenes, and people as they truly are. However, one branch of photography that instead aims to trigger the imagination and encourage new ideas is that of abstract photography.

Although this form of photography uses the same equipment as traditional photography, the images it creates are vastly different in both their visual representation and the feelings they evoke. Those who are attracted to abstract photography see the beauty existing beyond the typical portrayal of an object or scene, for instance, in the simple shapes and colors it is comprised of rather than its portrayal as a whole. Abstract photography often requires more experimentation and creativity than the more traditional realms of photography, and there is more freedom when creating one’s art.

What Is Abstract Photography?

Abstract photography is essentially a technique of photographing images without attempting to portray their traditional or realistic appearance. Abstract photographers aim to evoke thoughts and feelings in their viewers by using more than the actual representation of an element, focusing on characteristics that are often overlooked. This stimulates the viewer’s more creative and feeling-based side, triggering their creativity more than their visual faculties.

Abstract photography doesn’t ascribe to as many restrictions and rules as traditional photography, but there are theories and guidelines for how to create the most evocative and visually pleasing abstract photos. Some aspects of the most successful abstract photographs are simplicity, composition, harmony, and mystery. Artists who create these visually appealing and emotionally powerful works of art make use of unexpected angles, unique lighting, and interesting positions of the images and objects they see. The following elements of abstract photography are crucial to the art.

Simplicity

Camera lens

Image via: Pixabay

Abstract photography is essentially a technique of photographing images without attempting to portray their traditional or realistic appearance. Abstract photographers aim to evoke thoughts and feelings in their viewers by using more than the actual representation of an element, focusing on characteristics that are often overlooked. This stimulates the viewer’s more creative and feeling-based side, triggering their creativity more than their visual faculties.

Abstract photography doesn’t ascribe to as many restrictions and rules as traditional photography, but there are theories and guidelines for how to create the most evocative and visually pleasing abstract photos. Some aspects of the most successful abstract photographs are simplicity, composition, harmony, and mystery. Artists who create these visually appealing and emotionally powerful works of art make use of unexpected angles, unique lighting, and interesting positions of the images and objects they see. The following elements of abstract photography are crucial to the art.

Composition And Harmony

Although there are few traditional restrictions for abstract photography, an abstract photo needs to possess clarity and structure to be effective. It is crucial that there order and balance exist between the elements of the picture. The colors, textures, shapes, and patterns of an abstract photograph influence the visual representation of the photo and lead viewers to interpret it in a certain way. It is important to combine these elements in a way that has a structured composition in order to retain the simplicity and clarity that make abstract photography so compelling.

Mystery

Pebbles on black surface

Image via: Pixabay

Abstract photography by definition is not realistic, and therefore it often leaves viewers wondering what exactly they are seeing and what it could possibly mean. This sometimes confusing experience evokes an emotional response because viewers must engage with the image emotionally when they cannot interpret it with rationale. All good abstract photographs have an element of mystery and wonder, whether they use blurriness, macro lenses, or extreme simplicity to engage their viewers.

How To Get Started With Abstract Photography

If you are interested in taking up this artistic and creative hobby, it is not too difficult to begin with the simple elements of the world that already surround you. If you have motivation, creativity, and a decent camera, there is nothing holding you back from becoming an abstract photographer. Here are some steps to get you started with abstract photography.

Make Use Of Everyday Objects

Dslr camera with lion on the background

Image via: Pixabay

One of the best aspects of abstract photography is that it can be practiced anywhere, with the most ordinary and mundane of objects. Start by walking around your home and taking a second look at the everyday things in your house such as a phone, a lightbulb, or a table. Once you can begin to see your world with an abstract perspective rather than a realistic one, you can begin to imagine how to portray everyday objects in simple yet pleasing ways. This is the pinnacle of abstract photography—the most ordinary shapes and objects become mysterious and beautiful through the creativity of the artist.

Take Macro Shots

Another popular technique for creating abstract photographs is to get closer to the scene or object in front of you, either by zooming in or using a macro mode. It is advisable to go with the macro mode option to clearly capture small details and create a large but beautiful image. Taking macro shots allows you to bring attention to the details that would typically be overlooked, allowing viewers to delve deeper into the image and make their own interpretation of what it is and what it means. Macro shots give you an entirely new perspective on a previously ordinary image.

Practice Substraction

Silhouette of mountain

Image via: Pixabay

Substraction is an essential element of the method of abstract photography, as simplicity is key in this unique art form. To maintain the simplicity necessary for good abstract photography, you need to keep your frame focused on only a few elements of the scene in front of you, removing unnecessary or distracting elements. Taking a picture that has one or two images within it leads viewers to think more profoundly about each image and creates a photograph that appears simple but is, on the contrary, full of hidden meaning. It is important to question the reasons behind removing each object in order to retain the integrity of the photograph and send the message you intend to.

Use Motion

Traditional photographers avoid motion in their pictures, since nothing ruins a pleasant image like blurring. However, abstract photographers welcome blurriness, because it can result in an interesting and beautiful blend of colors, shapes, and patterns. Move your camera while you take the shot. Depending on which direction you choose, this can result in a variety of interesting images. From straight lines to wiggles to circles, each motion will create a unique and appealing sensory experience for viewers.

Three Examples Of Abstract Photography That Were Game Changers

Cloud Photographs

There are many abstract photographers who have become known for their innovative technique and ability to have an emotional effect on viewers with their striking images. Alfred Stieglitz, for example, was an incredibly creative and eccentric American photographer who was a game changer in the field. He is known as the photographer who created the first intentional series of abstract photographs, those being a series called “Music—A Sequence of Ten Cloud Photographs.” He made these evocative works of art in 1922 and then spent the next twelve years taking hundreds of pictures of clouds.

Use Of Light

Black and orange metal fence

Image via: Pixabay

Another man who made notable contributions to the art was Wolfgang Tillmans, who had the brilliant idea of using the process of developing photos to his advantage. He created a number of photos that display the effect of light on photographic paper. He is also widely known for his photographs of the club and street scene in the 80s and 90s. After starting his career with realistic and still-life photographs, Tillmans has now moved into the realm of abstract photography, using the medium of the camera to reflect cultural and political truths.

From Science To Art

Thomas Ruff has also made an impact with his creative ideas and methods. Ruff utilizes scientific images and makes them into art, which he did in his famous Cassini photographs, taken from NASA images. Along with melding science into art, he experiments with changing web images into shapes and objects that can be difficult to identify upon first glance. Ruff is a leader in abstract photography, setting an example by breaking through boundaries and finding new ways to discover beauty in the mundane.

Conclusion

Brown wooden fence

Image via: Pexels

Part of the thrill and wonder of abstract photography is that it brings new beauty and meaning to elements of the world that are traditionally seen as ordinary. This transforms the world into a whimsical place full of hidden details, angles, shapes, and colors that are nearly invisible upon first glance. Those who engage in this creative and eccentric art form understand that each image and object is made up of a myriad of minute components that have their own meaning apart from being a part of a whole. An abstract photographer is able to portray the hidden magic beneath the surface of a seemingly ordinary world.

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