Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Abstract Challenge

When Leigh first posted the theme for June, Attraction to Abstraction, it got me thinking. I wasn’t sure I even knew what “abstract” photography was. So I did a little research.  I found out that: 

“If you are looking to try a new form of photography, abstract photography will certainly be an enjoyable challenge and very rewarding if you master the true art.”  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_abstract_photography.

Hmmm, that sounds promising, I thought.  An “enjoyable challenge” sounded like just what I needed.  I read further in that same article and found this: 

“Some kinds of macro photography can be considered as abstract. Close-ups of flowers and other plant life will make great abstract subjects.” 
Well, I have been interested in macro for quite some time and flowers are one of my favorite things to shoot.  So I was excited to find out that a macro shot of a flower could be considered “abstract”.

But wasn't taking me out of my comfort zone and I was looking to challenge myself a bit more.  I read further in the same article and found this: 
“Abstract photography is a process of using colours and patterns combined to create an image, with no true meaning or no clear subject involved. Abstract photography is not necessarily going to mean the same thing to everyone. Abstract photography leaves more to the imagination and helps us concentrate on texture and colour rather than the whole subject.”

Okay, so it was getting a bit clearer.  Use colors and patterns and create an image with no true meaning or clear subject matter. 

But I was still asking myself, “Why would a photographer choose to create abstract images?” More research brought me to this:

"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."  http://ronbigelow.com/articles/abstract-photography/abstract-photography.html.

Now, I liked the sound of that -- finding interesting things to shoot right at home!

With a little better understanding of what “abstract” was, I walked around my house with my camera and found some pretty interesting things to shoot like the base of a birdbath in my backyard:

And a basket filled with mini-albums in my family room:

If you’re looking for more inspiration on shooting abstract photography, take a look at all the eye candy here:  40 Astounding Examples of Abstract Photography.

There is another article with lots of great information and inspirational images at  http://www.thephotoargus.com/tips/an-abstract-macro-photographers-setup/.

One thing this exercise taught me is that it is so easy to get into a rut, shooting the same things in the same way, and not challenging yourself to try something new. Thanks to Leigh’s June theme, I challenged myself, learned a lot and had a blast!

So go out and capture your version of "abstract" and share it with all of us in the Flickr pool. Don't forget to tag it with "ATA" to have it considered for In Focus.  Can't wait to see them!


Dotti said...

Excellent post, Terri, and just what I needed. Not only was I in a rut with Attraction to Abstraction, I've been in a general rut. This might be just the challenge I need. I see a photo walk around my yard and neighborhood in my future. Actually my immediate future ... today!


AFishGirl said...

I am glad you said "Terri" in your comment, Dotti, as I was thinking, "Now who wrote this?" (grin) I love how you learned about abstract, Terri, and the shots you chose to illustrate this. It's not a journey I've yet taken but you've given me lots of good ideas. Rock on, FOL.

Kim Stevens said...

I've been shooting flowers in abstract lately . . . and I'll bet everyone has shot something abstract at one point and just didn't realize it. Great post, but darn I'm going to have to re-think my post! lol ; )

Kim Stevens said...

Oh, and I forgot to add - love the images, especially that first one, sigh!

terriporter said...

Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways, my friend! I've added my signature block. I must have checked this post over 10 times and never caught that I'd forgotten to add it. Getting forgetful in my old age!

Carol said...

When my teacher told us she loved abstracts in the first class I took with her, I thought - interesting, but not for me. I'm pretty concrete after all is said and done - but once I started playing, I was hooked! It's opened my eyes to color and balance in composition, added to my micro experience , and shown me whole new worlds (have you ever taken a macro of a rust spot? It will blow your mind!).
I especially love the birdbath, Terri. Now erase that "birdbath" label from your mind and name it something. That makes you really see what is there now, not what it once was!

Deanna said...

Hmm, I think this might inspire me to search a little harder for abstract...I too am in a rut, same ole same ole, flowers, barns...I will take a look at abstract with a little more clarity with all your wonderful references.

heyjudephotography said...

Terri, I love these images, especially the basket. I feel like I need to explore abstract photography this summer to broaden my horizons. I'm heading over to the Photo Argus article you posted to be amazed, I'm sure! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos Terri! This is what I love about abstract photography is that it pushes us outside our comfort zone and puts a focus on texture, color, form....the basics. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this theme!

Dotti said...

Don't feel bad, Terri ... I did the same thing yesterday. That's why Fish is on our case! :-)


stephmull said...

Such an inspiring post, Terri. Like Deanna, I feel in a rut with pictures of the same stuff. I think looking at the same stuff with abstract in mind can certainly bring about new wonderment! Thanks for all the links to the articles, too.....always something to learn!

gina said...

This is a great tutorial, and you've inspired me to try an abstract. Your examples are terrific!

terriporter said...

I think it's that time of year where we all feel in a bit of a rut. Glad to have inspired you to break out of it and take a walk around and see what new things you can shoot.

terriporter said...

Ooops, sorry Kim! I've had that happen to me several times and it's always a bummer, but we all finally decided that, with a group of like-minded people, it's bound to happen. Don't stress about it. I'm sure you'll have a different take on the subject!

terriporter said...

Great advice, Carol! I'm new at this, as you can tell, and it has definitely opened up a new world of subjects to photograph and ways to photograph them. I plan to continue playing with this. Who knows? I might get hooked too!

terriporter said...

Definitely check some of those links. Some amazing stuff there!

Cathy H. said...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful info about abstracts! I was like you and really didn't know what abstract was! I've checked out your suggestions and love the "40 abstract photos!" They are truly amazing and they have me ready to try harder to create abstract photography! I love all your shots, the flower ones are simply gorgeous!!

Linda said...

Thanks for all the good links! I admit to being in a bit of a rut lately! Now something new to obsess about!


Anonymous said...

Your abstration photos are gorgeous Terri - I never get tired of seeing what your up to!

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