a photo study: abstract photography

Photography is representational by nature in that the subject(s) within most images depict the real world and usually are easily recognizable; for example, a photograph of tree generally looks very much like a tree.


Ted Forbes notes that abstract photography within the art world is drawn from skills that are different from other forms of art and, “It is something that we are not used to seeing in every day life…When it is done well, it stands out and it’s really exciting. When it is not done well, it is weird.”


Fundamentally, abstract art is a visual form that does not convey a realistic depiction of the world.  This departure from reality can be partial or complete; therefore, we are often uncertain about the identification of the subject.  Photographs within this genre diverge from a realist depiction of the world through the use of form, color, and lines.


Form is the shape of the elements within the image and is the foundation of an abstract image. When creating abstract photography, ask yourself, “is there an interesting form/shape with this image?”


The variations and contrast of colors within art create interesting images and evoke feelings within the viewer.


Lines within the image directs the viewer’s eye and creates a dynamic image by emphasizing movement.


There are different techniques photographers use to create abstract image: 1) selective focus, 2) light and shadow, 3) lines and textures, 4) blur, 5) zooming, 6) moving the camera or subject, 7) double exposure, and 8) moving in close or standing far away.


I’ve come to understand abstract/non-representational imagery as an absence of the type of discrimination and labeling process that seeks an answer to, “what is that?” to one that invites the viewer to explore, “what feelings does this image evoke?”


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and for the exchange of ideas and photographs.  I am inspired by the process of viewing and exchanging ideas with other bloggers and am excited about walking through your galleries of abstract/nonrepresentational photographs.   I hope you find Ted Forbes’ video interesting.


  1. Thank you for such an interesting and informative post – love trying out abstracts so lots to refer to here

      1. Mostly I have tried abstracting with ICM but think I will make April an abstract month – following your great examples and hints

  2. I read this post yesterday and thought I should check my archives or try some abstract pieces and then comment here. But after checking Helen’s post I decided to begin a conversation here.
    I love the way you explain the concept with various images. You make it very interesting. A couple of weeks ago I visited the Museo Picasso Málaga in Malaga, home town of Pablo Picasso. It was really hard to understand the art forms. My husband had to explain almost every piece to me. Now I shall try “abstract” image with camera and see if I manage 🙂

  3. have my first attempt at abstracting natural objects – not an easy task as left brain dominant!
    p.s. ICM is intentional camera movement

Comments are closed.