November 7, 2018
Abstract art in photography does not attempt to represent external reality. Photography artists instead find shapes, patterns, colors, and textures for their visually stimulating photographs. This body of work in essence attempts to separate or withdraw something from something else like, for example, the intricate patterns of reptilian skin or the shapes and colors of rough seas or volcanoes.
Abstract photography is vastly creative, strongly individualistic, and open to interpretation. Perhaps most importantly, it allows photography artists the freedom to explore their imagination.
The question I most often receive about abstract photography typically has to do with the practical nuts and bolts aspect of how to see the subject being considered in an abstract way. Interestingly, this is perhaps the most difficult element of the craft for this genre. I usually approach it by just allowing myself to be taken in by a scene or subject I’m exploring and seeing what sensations, emotions, and memories emerge without any expectations. While doing this, I’ll search for color-interaction and visually impactful textures and patterns. Most importantly, I’ll take my time and give myself the freedom to allow the scene “to speak to me” no matter how absurd it may at first seem or how many strange looks I get as I stare, for example, at the reflections in a puddle.
In the end, abstract photography is akin to meditation as it usually gives back more than expected, opening one’s mind to a different realm of possibilities which are at first unseen. This is why I consider it one of the crown jewels of photography.
About the Images
The first image presents the flowing patterns and colors of the rough seas in the North Atlantic Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada. The second image highlights an aerial view of Wyoming’s Grand Prismatic Geothermal Spring. The third is an award-winning image which reveals the intricate patterns, colors, and textures of a Florida iguana during its breeding season. All three are part of an abstract photography series I worked on for Earth Aperture Natural World Imagery. My kit for this assignment included Nikon bodies, Nikkor glass, RRS and Gitzo tripods, Breakthrough Photography filters, G-Tech SSD drives, Adobe and Nik software, and DJI drones.