Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Excellent!" I cried. "Elementary," said he.

 By Kim

"Reflective qualities of a glass bottle"

Strange title for a blog post I know, but if it got your attention it worked. And by the way do you have any idea what two people were having that conversation?  If it's a mystery, don't worry, I'll reveal it all in due time.

Several posts ago I wrote this . . . "My intention is to really dig deeper in cultivating the way I see through my lens that will allow me to tear down the boundaries I have and let me see beneath the expectations, even if I have to look at things sideways. And that perhaps instead of going out to make an image. . .I could let go of all perceived ideas and just participate in the receiving." And at the end of the post I said that I was going to try being a little quieter, a little more still, and try to see what the world would offer up when my view was boundary free. 

And that's exactly what I've been doing, removing boundaries. In fact I decided to pursue something that started to intrigue me a little over a year ago. Something I called "painting with my lens" which also falls into the category of abstract. Along with Terri, Dotti and Deanna, I was also in Kim's 50mm class and it just so happened her next month long class was Going Abstract. Bingo!

"Lines and shapes of a glass bottle"

"Excellent!" I cried. "Elementary," said he. And the rest of the conversation went like this;

"It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed one little point to which is the basis of the deduction. The same may be said, my dear fellow, for the effect of some of these little sketches of yours, which is entirely meretricious, depending as it does upon your retaining in your own hands some factors in the problem which are never imparted to the reader."  - Watson and Holmes in "The Crooked Man"

And why exactly am I quoting from Sherlock Homes Memoir you ask? Because I think mysteries and abstract photography have a few things in common. Both hold back details of the story or subject and may be based on non-realistic portrayals rather than an accurate representation of an object or scene. The biggest difference though, is a mystery is meant to be solved, an abstract image not so much.

I find that some people don't quite understand abstract photography and perhaps because they are looking for something they will not find. Because not only do you need to remove boundaries and labels to make an abstract image, but you need to remove them in order to view or receive one. Unlike other types of photography where we are trying to imply something or tell a story, abstract is about creating imagery with feelings and emotions that will allow people to see what they want in the image. To be persuaded by color, shapes and lines that will bring an emotional response and one that may be different for everyone.

"The essence of water - a color study"

The fluidity, softness, and ability to reflect colors . . . the essence of water. All three of these are from the same fountain only photographed in a different section as the water came out of the opening. Left and right images were straight on and the middle one was looking slightly above as it streamed down. 

"Abstract - Motion Blur"

I've been making these kinds of images for some time now, and recently started adding the element of people and am thoroughly enjoying it. (You can view another version of this image with a pink tint and the addition of abstract butterflies here called "Walking with Butterflies" on my post Chaos and the Butterfly Effect.)

"Essence of a Daisy"

Abstract photography fascinates me. You can transform ordinary into extraordinary by a subjects very shapes, lines, textures, form and colors through composition. Subjective expression intended to encompass and engage through parts of a subjects reality without always being realistic. As I've been reading more and more about contemplative photography as a form of meditation, the more I see abstract as an intentional form of that for me. There is an openness and a kind of ambiguity in the process that really speaks to me in a world that wants to be closed minded and very specific in its rules.

I also understand that abstract isn't for everyone as it's concept isn't exactly set in concrete. In fact, I'm sure that you would be hard pressed to find any definition about abstract photography that doesn't differ from another. But its my hope that you would keep an open mind, never saying "never," for it's in that state of open that we find wonder and awe for that contemplative space we all seek. 

" . . . life consists of questions and I want to get people to ask themselves questions . . .  What one sees in a photograph is not as interesting as the questions the photographer poses through it."
- Bourbacar Roure Mandemory

Enjoy your day,


Sandra said...

Wonderful images Kim! You have really embraced the subject of our workshop in a wonderful way as if you felt quite at home in it from the start!
"Elementary" said she!!! I recognized Sherlock Holmes' vocabulary. I have all his wonderful stories on DVD and my favourite actor in this role is Jeremy Brett. He has such class!

Sarah Huizenga said...

I think you have to be ready to open your heart to abstract photography, and you are obviously at that moment.

Nicki said...

These are fantastic and a little abstract in everyone's purview is a healthy test of the mind.

Barbara said...

I love abstract and I think one of the reasons I love it so much is because most people don't get it. You explained it so well though for understanding in a photographers words. These are all beautiful Kim and I think next to macros, abstract and slow shutter which is really abstract to me this is my favorite type of photography. Loved your post this morning.

kelly said...

beautiful images kim! i will admit that i haven't really dabbled much in abstract photography. seeing your lovely shots makes me want to try a little.

Barb Brookbank said...

Stunning and inspiring images! I enjoyed reading your post very much.

heyjudephotography said...

A year ago I played with abstract photography a bit and really liked the freeing element of it. The end result can be what I want it to be, what I felt it should be, or it can be a wonderful surprise. And you're so right - it is not for everyone - and that's ok. Your images are stunning. Just stunning. So glad you're following this avenue - it seems very much you. And it makes me want to explore this avenue yet again.

Kathryn said...

I love this exploration of the abstract, especially the water images. You're growing my friend in leaps and bounds.

Carol said...

Wow Kim - This resonates so much with me right now. My local group is into abstract photography and has called for images to develop a show. Although I have a few abstracts in my archives, I bowed out because I have never felt that I had a complete understanding of how to play with them. Mine have mostly happened by accident. I always love your photography, and this post is no exception, but your writing here is exceptional - I think you have succeeded in finally opening my eyes to the why and how of this form. And then I checked out Kim from your recommendation, and her writings about contemplative photography are the essence of what I have always been into, and what I am trying to do with my senses project that I have spoken about here. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Katie said...

this sounds like it might be just the ticket for me. i always enjoyed "breaking the rules" and abstract photography seems to be all about that. my favorite of this whole bunch, well, my two favorites, are the people in the rain shot and the daisy shot. what books would you recommend to get further info about this art form?

terriporter said...

So good, Kim! I have to admit I haven't done a lot of this type of photography but it intrigues me. Your images are stunning and really draw me in to the color and shapes, not always knowing what the actual subject is. The colors in your "Lines and Shapes of a Glass Bottle" image are just stunning! I think I'm going to have to give this a try. Thanks for opening up my eyes to something new and different. It's always fun to step out of that proverbial box!

Jill said...

I am intrigued. You have truly created art.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Abstract! I especially love the water collage, thanks for sharing a great post!

Linda/patchwork said...

Lovely photos. The first two, especially, look like abstract paintings. And, I love the daisy and the people.
This is an interesting form of photography. Something new to try.
Great post.

Olivia Fulmer said...

Love this!

kimmanleyort said...

Wow, Kim, I am in awe of your writing and your images. LOVE the Sherlock Holmes connection.

June Caedmon said...

Dear, Kim, I am so excited about this journey you are on! I'm enjoying your imagery very much! That middle shot that you didn't label {maybe the edge of a rose petal} is just - wow! - you seem to have a gift for abstract photography - I'm so glad you're pursuing it. I recognized Holmes, of course, a favorite of mine! Very interesting post - looking forward to more of your art!

leigh said...

Wow WOW WOW!!! I feel so inspired after reading your post and seeing your amazing and thought provoking images! I have felt like I am in such a rut lately, but the idea of abstract photography has me excited again. Thank you Kim!

Anonymous said...

Love this post Kim, both for your stunning abstracts and your beautiful writing. It's exciting to know that others have the same feelings about abstract photography -- and it's also exciting to see how the practice can be so inspirational when it gets shared. It's been wonderful having you in the Going Abstract class. I'm so enjoying your contributions. You really have found a genre that allows you to communicate what's inside through your photography. I love the freedom and constant discovery of it. I like to be surprised by all the beauty that is out there in the world seen through different eyes.

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