All photography is abstraction to some degree or other. As a photographer you have the ever engaging task of selecting exactly what goes in your frame and what you leave out. The constant process of selecting and rejecting everything around you, is what photography is all about.
Abstract photography chucks the proverbial ‘photography rule book,’ out of the window. It laughs in the face of conventional photographic wisdom. The rule book states, Thou shalt not produce images which aren’t in focus or have wonky horizons! Thou shalt not produce images which don’t either convey meaning or narrative or inform or entertain or be drop dang gorgeous! etc.
You can tear up the rule book with abstract photography because it takes most of its cues from fine art. At the heart of abstract photography is the notion that – it doesn’t have to represent object in a literal way. So get a bit wonky, get alternative, zoom in, zoom out, keep a keen eye and embrace the freedom that abstract photography gives you.
If too much freedom makes you feel a bit light headed, then keep yourself grounded and your eyes peeled for the following compositional elements:
- Texture – make the viewer want to feel photo with finger tips.
- Lines – lines are a powerful compositional tool which pull the viewers eye around the photo as they follow them.
- Symetry – can add balance and harmony to a photo and have a calming affect on the viewer.
- Colour – This can be a powerful tool to illicit emotions from the viewer. Re is for anger but also passion, blue for calming and clinical shots etc.
- Repetition – patters can make for interesting images
Also try some experimental techniques
- Experiment with changing the cameras White Balance settings so that your images take on a different colour hue.
- Use selective focus – so you control what part of the image should be in focus and where the viewer should look.
- Use a shallow depth of field to make everything soft and dreamy.
There’s not any definitive techniques or kit for abstract photography, you could photograph the froth on your coffee with a macro lens or go telephoto on a tower block or you might want to get close up to the human body. The main thing is that you know when you have produced an amazing abstract photo because it will illicit an emotional response in the viewer.
If you love this sort of photo project, don’t forget to give me your email address (on the top right hand corner of this page) as well as monthly updates, you’ll also receive a free ebook ’10 Fun Cool Things You Can Do Right Now With Your DSLR’.Sue Venables