Wishing you all a refreshing and invigorating weekend!
Whether abstracts or straight ahead photography, or whatever genre for that matter, we are attracted to lines and shapes. These are powerful compositional elements which, combined with dramatic lighting and stimulating colors, provide interest in images. We don’t search for lines and shapes. For the keen photographer, it is almost second nature to spot such elements, along with textures, patterns, forms, shadows and highlights. The photographer’s “third eye” is always on the look out, it doesn’t turn on and off. It is ingrained in his system to notice and discern what is interesting and what will work out. He may see a subject in its grandiose totality and as a composite whole, but he will also eye the subject’s parts and areas that may carry distinct forms, details and character. Here are samples:
It has been one great week of photographic abstractions. I hope you enjoyed this week’s picture series. Thank you all for the visits, views, likes, comments and follows. Always, we must have fun in our photography and at the same time learn and develop it, maybe not to staggering, earth-shattering, legendary levels (anyway, most of us are not professionals) but simply to a point where we can be satisfied and proud of our work and make it worthy to be shown and shared to our online viewers. Keep on clicking my friends!
The one subject that will give you the best abstract images are flowers. Zoom in, macro or close up, and capture those delicate curves, arches, shapes and spirited colors, and bring them out in looming proportions and surreal dimensions. Crop out the edges, play with light, use selective focus or blur, present them in panoramic 16:9 aspect ratio or in tight 1:1 square format; you’ve got a lot of creative options in your toolbox. The approaches are yours to discover and experiment to come up with the best abstractions from nature’s little angels. Here are samples from my collection.
Everywhere is something which could be beautiful. You must only learn to see and to know what and how to take off, to crop from the infinity – abstract, fine art, nature, landscape and portrait photography.~Florin Constantinescu
Quick Tips to Make Something Look More Abstract
1. An effective method is to crop out visual references that will immediately identify the subject.
2. Find something in your subject that shows clean shapes or lines.
3. Look for repeating patterns in your subject that you can focus on because they provide a sense of balance to the shot.
4. Light and shadows is a great tool in creating an abstract shot.
5. Use colors to give more impact.
~Allan Peterson from his article Abstraction in Photography
(Note: the above are short extracts; to read the full article please click on above link)
The Power of the Selective Focus Technique
If you’re searching for an easy but effective abstract photography technique, selective focus is the technique for you. A narrow depth of field is achieved by the selection of a large aperture. The camera is then focused on the center of interest of the image. The rest of the objects in the image will fade into a soft blur.
There are two things which can be done to make your images even more notable when utilizing this technique. First, the color of the background should be different from the center of interest. The second point is that the center of interest can be made even stronger by using curves to point toward the center of interest.
The Use of Light and Shadows
Using the interplay of light and shadows can create drama in an image. Now, some photographers tend to think only in terms of light. This is a mistake — for light is nothing without shadows. Shadows are not just a lack of light. Instead, shadows function to make the light come to life. It is the shadows that shape the light, that draw attention to the light, and that integrate with the light to produce striking photographic opportunities. This is especially true with abstract images.
So, what is the shadows’ role in this technique? The primary role of the shadows is to help to define the forms. In other words, the shadows’ role is to help the forms to stand out. Consequently, it should come as no big surprise that the more interesting the objects in an abstract image, the more likely that the image will be successful. The shadows then function to make the more prominent.
~Ron Bigelow from his article Abstract Photography Tips and Techniques
We’ve learned that abstract images are beyond descriptions and definitions. Subjects may not be obvious and understandable at all. I have read many articles on abstract photography and have experimented on a lot of shots and they all point to these – the use of imagination and seeing beyond the literal. I never intended some of my shots to be abstracts. Who would have thought the above picture of the center of a basketball court would look nice when zoomed in and cropped, or the photo below showing the subtle flow of water in a shallow stream. Many think that abstract images, bereft of messages to convey, are simply easy snaps. For me, they are the hardest of photographic genres simply because you have to be more perceptive of the things around you, and sharply receptive of any stimuli in the environment – a color that stands out, a pattern that is formed, an object in contrast, textures that produce interesting details, a crease here, a crumple there, a crack in the walls, ripples in water, shapes in the foliage – oh the subjects and ideas are endless. But often they are unnoticed, and not any crease, crumple, crack or ripple will do. You still have to compose and frame, all of which must be compelling. It takes an observant eye to find something out of relative nothingness. And the trained photographer can capture something undefined. That is the spark of abstract photography.
Thank you all for the follows, likes and visits last week during our picture series on “Shapes.” Another week and we begin another series. We go “Abstract” photography all week long. I’m reposting an article I did last January 3, 2013 titled Going Abstract: The Rules.
Aw heck, what a title! There are no rules. There are no descriptions. Abstract photography, like its cousin abstract art, defies definition. The content is not even important. You may not even make out what the subject is. And viewers may have that quizzical frown on their faces when looking at abstract work. They may not understand what the picture is all about, but what they can understand and connect with are these: the color, the shape, the form, the lines, the patterns and textures – essentially, these are elements of composition which we have tackled numerous times in previous posts. In abstract photography, forget what you are trying to convey and discard the message. Just make sure the image is visually engaging. Easy does it! Yet, how do we go about in pursuit of abstract photography? Time again to stack up on our learning. Freelance photographer Simon Bray shares some insights in his piece Creatively Approaching Abstract Photography. In his opening paragraph he mentions: “you don’t need any sort of special equipment, just a camera, any camera you like, and your imagination.” The article is divided into the following, with accompanying concise explanations: 1) What is abstract photography? 2) It’s all in the approach 3) Break the rules (again?, emphasis mine) 4) Pattern and Line 5) Form 6) Color 7) Working with architecture 8) Abstract and Macro 9) You’re an artist, and 10) Get out and give it a go! In almost all photography articles I have shared in this blog, the last tip is usually the same but only differs in wording. Ultimately it’s go right in and try it out for yourself. Versatile photographers can shoot any subject, but the great ones made their mark excelling in a particular genre. You may be gifted, but you’ll never know at what you are a genius of – macro, abstract, nature, portrait, street, wildlife, events – if you don’t go and dive right in.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!
I wrote and posted this on March 4, 2013. I’m reposting it to further enhance our knowledge on “Shapes” (our picture series this week) and how it impacts on our photography.
Organic shapes are also called curvilinear that are made up of curves, angles or both. Their main characteristics are curving appearance and smooth flowing outline. They look natural and are mostly found in leaves, flowers, plants and animals. Organic shapes are out there in the natural world, created by the environment. Being free form, they don’t have uniformity and perfect measurements. Which is the exact opposite of geometric shapes. Although they may also appear in nature, geometric shapes are products of man – rectangles, squares, triangles – which are building blocks of design and construction. With the technological revolution, man can now create structures and buildings mimicking organic shapes. What’s in it for our photography?
Shapes are compositional and design elements that are visually appealing. Going for the soft curves of organic shapes or the hard corners of geometric shapes, and partnering them with the right colors, lines, patterns and light will create captivating images. A photographer once said that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts. Feelings are triggered by what we see and sense. A visual stimulus of delightful shapes properly composed will evoke an equal emotional response of joy, gladness and a sense of well-being.
In his book “Galen Rowell’s Vision”, the author notes that we increasingly inhabit a world of “mature” imagery. He is referring to subjects that have become so much a part of the everyday media parade as to be cliches. In a visual universe where the unfamiliar of yesterday is the humdrum of today, try making abstract photos of nature that go beyond the record shot to suggest a personal vision, convey emotion, and revel in the challenge of expressive seeing.
Routine travel to far off corners has allowed everyone access to the once rare. Digital technology all but ensures that exposure and sharpness are a given. So where does all this leave nature photography? Abstraction can embrace any number of approaches in the continuum between the extremes of traditional formal nature portraiture and personal artistic expression. Exploring the natural world on the more personal level that abstraction allows can point the way towards a bolder, more individual approach to nature photography.
~Larry Monczka from his article Abstract Photos
What is it really and is it the same as Abstract Art?
As the name implies “abstract” denotes what can be interpreted but not seen. The art form is many times debated to be complex and difficult to understand. Yet it attracts a horde of art critics and art collectors from every part of the globe, and several interpretations may accompany abstract paintings. Similarly, abstract photography draws the same popularity except it is done with a camera and not with brush and paint!
The exact definition of this art is difficult but it is sufficient to understand that there are no rules or norms for creating and in layman terms “anything goes” as long as it appeals to the eye!…
Abstract photography is really the prerogative of a true artist and one who also has a scientific bent of mind. Composing a perfect shot requires the “artist” and taking the photograph requires the “technician”! Imagination knows no bounds and the best results are when one uses creative powers to its full capacity.
~Seth Willis Jr. from his article Abstract Photography
There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.~Pablo Picasso
Step 1 – What is abstract photography?
Handily, there isn’t really a defined meaning or explanation of what abstract photography entails, and in the same regard to abstract art, the content of the work is essentially unimportant and often entirely ambiguous. What does take precedence is the form, colour, line and texture within the composition, to create a piece that is visually stimulating. With regard to abstract photography, you don’t need any sort of special equipment, just a camera, any camera you like, and your imagination.
Step 2 – It’s all in the approach
So how does one go about taking abstract photographs? The first thing to remember is to keep your eyes open for interesting and engaging subject matter. Whenever I shoot abstract shots, I’m always attracted to the subject matter instinctively; something about it will catch my eye and draw me in. React emotionally to the subject, consider why you were attracted to it and how it makes you feel and this will inform how you photograph it. Spend time with the subject, think outside the box and approach it in a means that you would not really approach it, from different angles and regardless of its usual purpose.
~Simon Bray from his article Creatively Approaching Abstract Photography
The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.~Brooks Atkinson
We, photographers of all levels, like to say we can shoot anything. And that’s what millions of other casual shooters armed with cameras on their smartphones do not say, that is what they do. So what makes us any different from them who fill Facebook, Twitter and a host of other photo sharing and social media sites with billions of photos? They take snapshots, we take photographs. There is not much thought when you take snaps – it’s the random shoot anything-anywhere-anyhow-anyway. Easy. But when you take photographs you consider the lighting, the shape, the form, the texture, the colors, the lines, the subject in relation to its background or other elements, or the lack of. You frame and compose your shot. You scan the surrounding, notice and observe. You think. And you got questions in your mind. Is this pleasing? What if I do it this way? Is this interesting? How can I make the subject stand out? Yes, all those with cameras – from smartphones to point and shoots to dslr – can shoot anything, but not anyone can produce a good photograph. Why is this so? The avid, passionate photographer has something which the casual shooter doesn’t have – knowledge. Whether hobbyist, enthusiast or even professional, they all strive to learn to improve and better their craft. They read books, articles, tips and techniques, and apply these through experimentation and practice. And they shoot and shoot. Never fearing what could be wrong, yet always hoping that the image they took was the clear result of instinct and learning developed through patience and persistence. Yes, anyone with a camera can shoot anything, but only a true photographer can shoot something of value and come out with a prize – the appreciation of his audience.
For those striving to find their artistic voice in photography, the challenge isn’t so much trying to do something that no one else has done. The challenge is to figure out who you are, what’s important to you, and to master the techniques that help you express it.~John Suler
So far, these are the collections at Junsjazz Art & Vision blog. The latest art series is “Crystals” which are abstract and geometric renderings created from my photos of flowers. Head over to the art blog and click on each image for a bigger view and get to see the details and nuances of each work. There are more Series to come, aside from individual, stand-alone pieces. As I said before, I’ve got quite a collection of these digital art created during the past five years, all tucked away in my hard disk. I guess they are all wanting to break free from their confinement, and join my other images in the outside, online world. And they will. Thanks art lovers!
The above piece is from the “Citylines” series at Junsjazz Art & Vision blog. The problem (if you can call it that) with these artworks is that I cannot “recreate” them; they are one time creations. Though I have the base composite image, when I try again to go through the exact process of applying creative filters and effects, the result is just not the same with the original piece. Unlike in photography when you apply the same editing process, you get the same result over and over again with a particular image. I guess that’s the individuality of art, the are meant to be created once. Afterwards you go on conceptualize and make another. There are no replicas and duplicates, which makes every original artwork a unique creation. Thank you my friends for the likes, visits, comments and follows in the less-than-a-week-old art blog. If you have time, hop over there. There is almost nothing to read in that blog, but you’ll have a whole visual world of colors to take in.~JJ
The above is from the “Floral” series, a sample of the many creations I did when I started photographing years ago. In my youth I painted using watercolors and acrylic. When the camera became my brush, I continued my art but in the photographic way. It was when trying out various image editing softwares that I was able to merge photos, apply styles and effects and come up with “digital art.” All are based on photos I took. I have a sizeable collection of these creations that for a long time were tucked away in my hard disk. Now they are presented to the world through their own home, the Junsjazz Art & Vision blog. If you have time I invite you to visit the blog and immerse yourself in a world of brilliant colors, moody darkness, surreal concepts, runaway imagination and unrestrained creativity. Thanks! Happy midweek my blogger peers!
Junsjazz Art & Vision – a gallery of photography-based digital art works by yours truly. I’ve been creating these images for some time now and they have accumulated in my hard disk. Hence I made a blog just today to showcase and share them. Only a few postings so far in the blog’s first day but more will definitely be added.
Junsjazz Cool & Smooth – If you’re into smooth jazz, soul, funk and fusion music, this is the blog for listening and enjoying them either through live concert videos or music players. Bits of info about the featured artist/musician are added in.
There you go folks, three of my greatest passions – photography, digital art and jazz music – now each with their own home. I hope you get to visit them. Thanks!
For me, a photograph needs to be poetic.~Steve Coleman
Article Excerpt: “The question arises, “Why bother creating abstract images?” In other words, there are a lot of other photographic opportunities out there. Why would a photographer choose to create abstract images?…There are a couple of reasons. First…abstract images can be very powerful. That in itself is all the justification that is needed. However, there is a second advantage. Abstract images can be created almost anywhere. What that means is that a photographer can create abstract images right at home and in the surrounding neighborhood. This is in contrast to other types of photography, such as landscape photography, where there is the cost in time and money to travel to specific locations to capture images.”~Ron Bigelow from his article Abstract Photography
Aww heck, what a title! There are no rules. There are no descriptions. Abstract photography, like its cousin abstract art, defies definition. The content is not even important. You may not even make out what the subject is. And viewers may have that quizzical frown on their faces when looking at abstract work. They may not understand what the picture is all about, but what they can understand and connect with are these: the color, the shape, the form, the lines, the patterns and textures – essentially, these are elements of composition which we have tackled numerous times in previous posts. In abstract photography, forget what you are trying to convey and discard the message. Just make sure the image is visually engaging. Easy does it! Yet, how do we go about in pursuit of abstract photography? Time again to stack up on our learning. Freelance photographer Simon Bray shares some insights in his piece Creatively Approaching Abstract Photography. In his opening paragraph he mentions: “you don’t need any sort of special equipment, just a camera, any camera you like, and your imagination.” The article is divided into the following, with accompanying concise explanations: 1) What is abstract photography? 2) It’s all in the approach 3) Break the rules (again?, emphasis mine) 4) Pattern and Line 5) Form 6) Color 7) Working with architecture 8) Abstract and Macro 9) You’re an artist, and 10) Get out and give it a go! In almost all photography articles I have shared in this blog, the last tip is usually the same but only differs in wording. Ultimately it’s go right in and try it out for yourself. Versatile photographers can shoot any subject, but the great ones made their mark excelling in a particular genre. You may be gifted, but you’ll never know at what you are a genius of – macro, abstract, nature, portrait, street, wildlife, events – if you don’t go and dive right in.