What is abstract photography?

A well-chosen abstract photograph can make a true statement in your home or workplace. Subtle details, oblique references and bold colours make a real talking point. But how do we define abstract images and how are they different to conventional landscape or portrait imagery?

Since the creation of film photography in the 19th century, photographers have experimented with form, light and style to produce inspirational art. Their work and that of others in this form capture the distilled essence of a subject. The overall meaning of a piece may be merely implied or out of context, leaving it open to interpretation by the viewer.

There are no set rules when it comes to creating abstract photography, but most artists focus on and follow a set of characteristics to distinguish them from conventional forms of imagery. Colour, line, shape, texture, geometry and symmetry all feature strongly in this form. Familiar objects are made unfamiliar by a tight focus of one small fragment. For example, an image of a washing line could be made abstract by focusing on a single water droplet on the object. By making the viewer aware of only the essence of a subject and forcing them to use their senses to explore it further, an abstract image is made.

So how do photographers capture these images? Again, there are no set photographic techniques but more an experimentation and amalgamation of existing ones. With the rise of digital photography, the scope and possibilities have been broadened allowing photographers to explore editing techniques post-processing. A photographer will often use macro techniques alongside motion blur, long exposures and multiple exposures. An eye for light, shadows and textures is essential in picking out minute or unique details which will abstract a subject.

In essence, an abstract image is a non-objective conceptual photograph. Its subject will often be broken down into a small detail leaving the viewer to decide its true origin. A deeper meaning may be implied, or the image may be created purely for the stunning aesthetic an abstraction can create. Whatever the purpose and intention of the photographer, can make a truly modern statement. We can help you find the perfect piece, with all our prints available in various sizes and as open edition prints.