Define Abstract?

tmjjk

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I like taking photos of edges and different uncommon angles of things... is that abstract? I have so many images of stacked wood its ridiculous... Is this just me? Is there anything in the following image that would appeal to anyone or is this just a weird thing I enjoy... This image in particular doesn't mean much to me or stick out, I just want to know if this is abstract? Thank you for your time... $1 (1 of 1)-8.jpg
 

KenC

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Those are good themes to explore, and this one is a pretty good example. I wonder what it would be like in BW where the red is not a big factor in how it is perceived, especially because it would be really easy to alter the red content during the conversion to make it lighter or darker - might be worth playing around with it.

As for "abstract" I guess my gut feel is that it isn't because it is a very recognizable object, although the image is about shapes and light rather than content, so I suppose one could define "abstract" broadly in that way and include it. My question whenever these "how-do-you-define-X" discussions start is: "why does it make a difference to you?" If this or any other image is or isn't an abstract, or art, or in any other category according to any definition, would that change what you do? If the answer is "no" and you're going to explore what interests you regardless of how others label it, then don't sweat the labels.
 

MK3Brent

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That's a detail photo.
 

Bitter Jeweler

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Abstract art - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.

I tend to be a purist, and believe if the viewer can pretty immediately recognize the subject, it is not abstract.
I believe successful abstraction relies almost solely on composition, and has little to do with the actual subject.
That is to say, the impact of the image should come from the composition, rather than the viewers relation or interpretation of the subject.

I say no, you image is not abstract at all. It is a study in line and shape, and it's great that you are thinking in that direction.
But no, it's not abstract.

People will also confuse abstraction, with minimalism.



Examples:

4698397351_33044357e6_o.jpg






6221582326_7f21c6cacb_o.jpg






4852427276_21860dc799_o.jpg





4852424020_d8e8a2700f_o.jpg
 
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tmjjk

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Thank you... Love these images!
 

Bitter Jeweler

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I'll add, in all the images I posted, you could guess they are all walls of some sort.
But, you are not hit right off with the fact that they are walls. You are hit with color, line, shape, form, light, shadow, texture...
So that's what I mean by the subject becoming much less important, and the composition taking the spotlight.

If you like taking pictures of edges of things, expand on that. Take it further! Abstract photography is, in my opinion, the best way to learn and become fluent with the visual language which will help you in all areas of photography.
 
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tmjjk

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I am taking that as an assignment and will be uploading another image before you know it :) thank you
 
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$1 (1 of 1)-11.jpg$1 (1 of 1)-12.jpg Very simple.. and not very interesting.... going back out now..:)
 

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If you want a little bit of a guide...

Don't rely on shallow DoF for abstraction.

Do these all in B&W:
1. Find compositions made up entirely of straight lines.
2. Find compositions made up entirely of curved lines.
3. Find compositions made up of lines (straight and/or curved) and ONE shape.
4. Find compositions made up entirely of shapes.

Use color:
5. Find compositions that rely on color to lead your eye around, using any element of design (line/shape)
6. Find compositions that show pattern.
7. Find compositions that contain a pattern break.
8. Find compositions made up entirely of color and tone, no lines or shapes! (lines and shapes can be "implied", but not hard edged lines)
9. Find composition that rely solely on texture.
10. Have fun with it!
 
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tmjjk

tmjjk

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$1 (1 of 1)-13.jpg$1 (1 of 1)-14.jpg I will work on it... thank you soooo much for the guide.... I am on a mission now and inspired!
 

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Oooh! The B&W one above really isn't bad!

Crop it directly in half, and post the right half. ;)

I really like the tones in the drain and stopper. Cutting out half of the round disc with the strong pattern will help balance it out a bit. The strong diagonals really command attention away from the subtlety of the drain. The points will now point to a nd lead the viewer to the drain, where as the left side of the disc points away from the drain.

:thumbup:

Oh, and the selective color in the first one, drawns us completely away from the drain.
Selective color is used to draw us to, and tends to hold us on the color. Use it to do exactly that for successful selective color. All to often it is used poorly and draws the viewer away from the true subject.
 
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tmjjk

tmjjk

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$bw abstract.jpg Thanks again... and is there a rule about orientation? I am so new.... forgive me :)
 

Bitter Jeweler

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Thanks again... and is there a rule about orientation? I am so new.... forgive me :)
Your welcome!

Does what I said make sense when you look at the new cropped version, versus the original?
I explain what I see, and how my eye has developed. Your eye will develop with what makes sense to you.

As far as orientation, you mean horizontal/vertical?
No rules. You use what works best for the composition for the most part.

For images with clear subjects, you should tend to shoot tall narrow subject vertically, and short, wide subjects horizontally. But that is not a hard fast rule, and it still depends on whats available compositionally.



Oh, as another example from your image....see the little black dots on the edge of the disk? Those same black dots are repeated in the drain cover (which isn;t visible). THose are things you want to pay attention to, and decide to include them or not. The black dots can become a repeating motif.
 
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tmjjk

tmjjk

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I will post more in the future... thanks for your help, I really appreciate it... I was looking at your flickr page and your images are amazing!
 

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