Friday, 5 June 2009

Abstract or not?

I have been reading a lot of definitions of abstract photography to try to clarify my own thinking. It seems to me that macro images are often described as being abstract when they are just close-ups or detail. Here are some defininitons of abstract I have culled from many sources ;-
  • Abstract (adjective) existing in the mind only. Having no reference to material objects of specific examples. Not concrete.
  • Abstract (noun) essence of the whole
  • Abstract (verb) to take away. To remove from reality.
Perhaps the definition is less easy to apply to photography than other art forms. We know when a painting is non-representative and may be a total result of the artist's imagination, but in photography, the viewer knows that the photographer started with an object or a view of the natural world which has been abstracted. Very often the object is still recognizable but the subject has become secondary to other considerations such as shape, form, colour.
Before taking the Open College of Arts photography course these questions would not have mattered to me, but now I want to develop a language to talk about my photography.

Here are two of my photographs which illustrate what I have been talking about.
Abstract or macro?


glasshouse 5
Ice and Fire

Beads is a macro shot taken infront of blue and red cellophane taped on a window.

Ice and Fire is snow on a greenhouse roof, shot into the morning sun.