In all things, the Way does not want to be obstructed, for if there is obstruction, there is choking; if the choking does not cease, there is disorder, and disorder harms the life of all creatures ~Chuang-Tzu*

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When I chisel a wheel, if the blows of the mallet are too gentle, the chisel slides and won’t take hold. But if they’re too hard, it bites in and won’t budge. Not too gentle, not too hard–you can get it in your hand and feel it in your mind.  You can’t put it into words, and yet, there’s a knack to it somehow. I can’t teach it to my son, and he can’t learn it from me. ~Wheelwright P’ien*

*cited in:

Tao of Photography Seeing Beyond Seeing

Philippe L. Gross & S.I. Shapiro

initially posted on September 21, 2013

Nikon D750     f/22     1/25     35mm     800 ISO

“…after trying for so long to program computers to make drawings autonomously, I noticed one key factor that distinguished me from the machine: I wanted to make a good drawing. The first step in making a good drawing is recognizing and giving voice to the desire to create. The creative urge is the engine that will drive the great effort it takes to pursue art over the long term, and understanding the nature of this desire will be critical in staying motivated long enough to develop good work.

“…What makes a drawing good? It would be impossible to list all the qualities of a good drawing, and in any case the list would be different for each of us and each artwork we liked. Luckily, we don’t need a precise definition. We understand how to proceed with our creative work by developing our intuition and learning to pay attention to what we value and respond to.”

~J F Simon, Jr (Drawing Your Own Path)

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.

This week my year-long commitment to study various elements of photography composition introduced me to lines: horizontal, vertical, diagonal, organic, and implied. Ted Forbes  (The Art of Photography) wrote that while lines don’t actually exist in nature they are most likely the most basic element of visual composition. He further noted:

Lines serve many purposes in visual composition. They can divide the composition, they can direct the viewers eye, they can define shapes and they can make a statement to the feel or interpretation of the image by the viewer. Line’s speaking to the feel of a composition is extremely important.












After this week, I am finding myself wondering about leading and curving lines as well  finding myself in a bit of muddy water in regards to the differences between lines and shapes.  Am I overthinking?

Would love to hear your thoughts and please feel free to join in.

To sum up this week here is Ted Forbes’,  Photography Composition: Line.