What are the advantages of taking abstract photos? What benefits will you gain from delving deeper into this style of photography? It may not be a genre you’ve had much experience with, but there are numerous reasons for getting creative and giving it a go. Here are my top 10:
Expand your creativity and imagination
I certainly enjoy things which make me think and determining the best way to photograph a subject and to give it new life often means you have to think outside of the square and re-evaluate your approach. There’s also a lot of learning on the job as new ideas grow and develop as you are working with a subject. Allowing yourself to be open to these possibilities, even though they may, at first, seem unlikely, fosters an adventurous and creative spirit.
Capturing the image ‘First Contact’ took me on an impromptu and fascinating journey of discovery. Learning to let go and adopting a completely new approach to my photo shoot yielded both unexpected and delightful results. Find out more in the ‘Exposed: First Contact’ article.
Encourage you to look at things differently
Often abstract photographers will create an image out of a combination of disparate elements or alternatively, focus on a small area of a particular subject. This ability to juxtapose or extract, isolate or blend, to re-invent what you are seeing, and to finally communicate your new vision to the viewer is a skill which I hold in very high regard.
Pleasure of creating something which is truly unique
The beauty of making abstract photos is that we can move beyond the conventional or representational into creating images of pure imagination. We can express a truly unique vision.
Set yourself a challenge
If you want to shake up your photography and try something different – the challenge of making something new out of something familiar couldn’t be better. Take an ordinary, everyday object in your home and turn it into something of wonder and beauty.
‘Ghost in the Machine’ takes two everyday items found in the kitchen and combines them to produce this rather haunting and surreal ‘portrait’. The ‘Exposed: Ghost in the Machine’ article reveals more.
Strengthen your compositional skill and awareness
I think taking abstract photos is one of the fastest ways to develop and improve compositional awareness. Abstract photography relies heavily upon the intrinsic form and structure of the image. As the image may not represent anything based in ‘concrete reality’, the viewer must gain visual satisfaction and understanding from the skilful construction and manipulation of shapes and patterns into a pleasing whole. Once you become skilled at seeing and analysing these shapes and patterns, you can then apply this to other styles of photography. You will become more adept at decoding the underlying structural framework of an image.
You don’t have to be an expert in Photoshop
Get clever with your camera first. My philosophy has always been that it’s more important to spend time behind the camera rather than in front of the computer. Taking abstracts is a great way to learn and experiment with different photographic techniques and seeing the effects they have on your images, particularly depth of field, use of movement, shutter speeds, and the influence of lighting.
You’ll never run out of subject matter
Imagine the possibilities – everything around you is potential material. You’ll uncover a whole new world. I love taking everyday objects and transforming them into something completely different and unrecognisable. It’s a great challenge to go beyond what we see and create an alternative view of the world.
The ‘Exposed: Golden Spirals’ article takes you behind the scenes and shows you the learning process and creative development in crafting this image. The final result bears no resemblance to the original subject matter and has entered the realms of pure imagination.
You don’t have to travel & you don’t need any special equipment
My home has been my muse and goes to show that you don’t have to travel to get good material for an image. Many of my images are taken with a standard 18 – 55mm lens, and many are hand-held. I firmly believe the most important piece of equipment for the abstract photographer lies between their ears.
Can create very powerful images
All photography works on an instinctive and subconscious level, but more-so with abstracts. When we look at these types of images we don’t necessarily have a rational response. The images are suggestive, sometimes shunning the logical and expected. They are mystifying rather than explanatory, unusual, quirky, idiosyncratic. Their uniqueness makes them very powerful and can engage our imagination very quickly.
Working in the triptych format has allowed me even greater freedom to explore and expand my abstract vision. With the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, a triptych can make a powerful statement, taking the viewer to new levels of visual curiosity and imagination. You can discover more about how I create my triptychs in ‘The Art of Creating a Triptych’.
It’s liberating. It’s freedom. You’re working with no preconceptions. Often you’ll have absolutely no idea of how your images will turn out, but that’s the enjoyment of the journey. Sometimes you’ll make a photograph out of the most mundane things – but the joy and satisfaction of seeing what you can achieve is extremely gratifying.
So take the time to look at your surroundings with new eyes and a fresh perspective.
Take the time to experiment, leave your comfort zone and push your photographic boundaries.
Take the time to look below the surface and let your imagination run wild!
You can find more information on the subject of abstract photography in my articles, Definition of Abstract Photography and What Makes a Good Abstract Photograph.