Abstract photography is a unique form of photography that seeks meaning in non-reality. Through various non-realistic shapes, forms, and patterns, this form of photography asserts an unconventional picture of the world. As such, abstract photographs offer no clear meaning—and are often fun to look at as a result!
You’re probably already familiar with the basics of abstract art. We’ve all seen Picasso, after all. Picture abstract photography in the same vein, but just as a different medium. You may be surprised to learn that this form of photography has a long history. For over one hundred years, photographers have used cameras to create intentionally-distorted depictions of the realities they snapshot.
The art of abstract photography is unique in its broad application. Specifically, photographs may be considered abstract when the subject matter depicts a warped version of reality (such as distorted views of a lampshade) or when the subject matter depicts unconventional subjects (such as peeling paint). As such, there’s no one set definition of abstract photography. In general, photographers create abstract photographs by playing with lens, color, light, shadow, and form. Typically, abstract photographs are created when the photographer successfully throws the nature of the picture’s substance into question. This can be achieved by placing a prism onto the exterior of your camera. The diffraction of light makes for an interesting and distorted subject.
Many of the earliest abstract photographs focused on the use of prisms to create warped versions of reality. Others were produced through the photogram or through the interplay of light and shadow. The goal: to create subject matter that emphasized expression and impression rather than concrete meaning. Apply this own philosophy to your own abstract photography today!