Abstract Photography – Making the Ordinary Extraordinary


Abstract Photography – Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

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What is abstract photography? How does one define it? Abstract art, and abstract photography are different things to different people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines abstract art as “relating to or denoting art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colors, and textures.”

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I find abstract photography very freeing.  As a photographer shooting abstract art I can use my imagination to create whatever I feel.  The rules that are so important in other types of photography are not important in abstract photography.

My motif for abstract photography is to make a familiar subject seem very unfamiliar.  I want the viewer to question what the subject really is.  As a macro and close up photographer I observe the small details of my subjects.  With abstract photography I take those details and bring them front and center.

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I look for repeating lines, interesting patterns, reflections, or the play of shadows and light on my subject.  When one of these things catches my eye, I move in close.  I completely fill the frame to give the subject an unfamiliar look.

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Once you’ve captured your photos you can crop them, turn them upside down, or sideways to change the way your viewer sees the subject.

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In post processing you can add vibrant colors, or convert the photo to black and white.  Changing the color of the photo, or removing the color from a photo, can force the viewer to see the textures and shapes of your subject that might have gone unnoticed before.

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You can find great abstract subjects anywhere, but try looking in unexpected places. Believe or not, rust can make a great abstract image. Close ups of the sides of buildings, boats, or old cars can be very interesting.  Items you use in your everyday, shot close up, or at an unusual angle, can make a great abstract photo. Two of my colleagues on my collaborative blog captured some fantastic abstract images.  You can view their photos here and here.

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My last image is inspired by my best friend, Simone. While visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico she photographed the beautiful blue brick sidewalks that were found all over Old San Juan.  She moved in close and filled her frame.  Her result was a beautiful abstract photo that brings back memories of her special trip. While my photo, below, was not taken in San Juan, I was able to recreate her image.  Because I kept my eyes open for the extraordinary in the ordinary, I captured the same type of beauty that she did.

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Were you able to figure out what my other abstract images were?  I think you will be surprised, and hopefully inspired, to get out and capture your own abstract images!

1.My first photo is of the underside of the roof of a Chinese Pagoda.

2. My second photo is a close up of feathers on a chicken! Yes, a chicken! I moved in close, and boosted with color in post processing to make the image even more unrecognizable.

3. My third image is of an upside down row boat that was sitting next to a pond.

4. My fourth image is a close up of a large leaf, with added color in post processing.

5. My fifth image is of ice that formed on the top of my swimming pool in the winter.

6. My sixth image is the side of a red barn, that had a circle attached to it and deep shadows in the afternoon sun.

7. My seventh image is a close up of a statue, focusing on the texture and details of the back of the statue’s head.

8. My eighth image is of peeling paint on the side of a barn.

9. My ninth image is of large cables wrapped around pylons in the water near a pier.

10. And as I mentioned above, my tenth photo is of a stone walkway. I filled the frame with my image, and color boosted in post processing to give it the same feel as my friends photo that I used for inspiration.

Written by guest blogger Judy Salcedo

About the Author: Judy Salcedo is a Fine Art Photographer, living in the greater New York City area.  She has a special interest in macro and close up photography, but carries her camera with her at all times so that she can capture the magic of any scene she comes across.  She shares her photography on her website and shares her passion for photography and life with nine friends on their collaborative blog.

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