Abstract photography and abstract art are very popular and involve a merchandise trade of billions of dollars over a century. Most art galleries and exhibitions as well as photography events are never complete without a section on this form of depiction.
Every year thousands of art students and photographers follow courses all over the world and try to vent their thoughts and ideas in the form of their own interpretation. In fact, abstract photography is a direct outcome of the earlier abstract art form that was made famous by many noted artists. Nearly everyone at some point of time has had a brush with this genre of photography and as we will see later in this article, has appreciated or collected the abstract photographs.
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! The photography technique is used to capture almost any event in a subtle manner such as a drop of water splattering in a pool to look like a crown or a piece of hemp rope at close quarters that looks like a striated bundle etc. The composition is immaterial; it is only the way a scene (really a photograph) is captured on film. The interpretation may come later.
How is abstract photography carried out?
It is necessary to have a professional high speed camera and sometimes a special high speed film. The best results can be obtained by using a black and white film and many valuable photographs are of this monochrome variety. The following aspects need to be kept in mind:
(1) A perfect understanding of conventional photographic principles regarding shutter speed, aperture, focusing, film speed and lighting effects.
(2) Telephoto lenses and close up lenses and flash equipment form a part of certain trick effects one wishes to create.
(3) Films of different types like color, black and white, speed in ASA or DIN, tripod stands, remote shooting, filter lenses, shadow hoods etc.
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.
If you wish to try out your hand at this form of art, do read what some of the famous personalities like the Czech Josef Sudek and Jaromir Funk, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Ernie Yang, Latvian Wilhelm Mikhailovsky, Henri Bresson, and Ansel Adams have to write about abstract photography.