Life as a photographer is a continually evolving one. Lately, I’ve been drawn more and more towards abstract photography – not abstracts created in post-processing, but abstracted views of the natural world.
Part of learning to see is to suspend judgment or take the filters or labels or names we tend to put on everyone and everything. One way we can practice this is through abstract photography, purposefully leaving out details that allow us to recognize something literally.
We remove the labels and work with colour, lines, shapes, and curves. We get closer to the essence of our subject. Not knowing “what it is” allows us to experience the image and how it makes us feel, without trying to figure it out.
This type of photography is fun and freeing. It feels like play.
Here are a few examples.
Colour affects us in dramatic ways. This winter, I found myself longing for colour, which is why I often buy tulips to photograph in February. The image above is a study in yellow, an energizing colour. The flowing lines show the subtlety that is present in everything. It feels happy.
In the image above, I moved in close to graffiti on a stone wall. The curving lines and the black and white contrast reminded me of Zen calligraphy. There’s something about curving lines that is appealing to me. They remind me of the flow of life.
And finally, using intentional camera movement is a way to create an abstract impression of a scene. The image above was taken at Rockefeller Center in New York City by setting a longer shutter speed and panning my camera vertically. It’s a new way of seeing the flags that line the plaza there.
I hope this has given you a taste of abstract photography. I offer a four-week group experience called Going Abstract, which will be offered again in November 2014.
All Photographs Are © Kim Manley Ort
Kim Manley Ort Photographer Bio
Kim Manley Ort is a contemplative photographer who loves life and gets great pleasure in seeing differently and helping others to do the same. Her workshops in seeing (including Going Abstract) are both online and in person.