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Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine

Here's a round up of some of the best abstract talent we have on site.

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yuno Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: Boat Reflections 3

'Boat reflections 3' by yuno

How did you get into abstract photography?
Well I guess it came from not really liking photographing humans!

I figured I was better at seeing details, or simply things which we might not normally perceive as interesting or visually pleasing in their everyday context, but when they're framed and taken out of their native surroundings they may get a different meaning, or lose meaning completely so that any interpretation is open to the viewer.

What draws you to abstract photography?
An abstract photograph strips real world imagery of its message and meaning and leaves only raw emotion and arbitrary associations, which might be different for each person viewing it. So it's not so much an artistic expression, more like a game of introspection offered to the potential viewer.


Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: A Walk In The Woods
'A Winter Walk' by MalcolmM

How did you get into abstract photography?
In recent years I've been looking to make more abstract and creative images, with club and other competitions in mind.

Talk us through how you come up with your ideas, set up and take a shot.
I have been using blur for creative images for some time, either using Photoshop filters or by the more satisfying method of using deliberate movement during exposure to get the effect wanted. Many shots are hand-held, a favourite being of windblown snow on a series of vertical tree trunks using aperture priority and low ISO to get an exposure of say 1/10 or 1/4 second, moving the camera vertically during the exposure. It is very hit and miss but less misses occur with practice.

I have favourite areas of local woods for this and sometimes will add a suitably blurred figure (often at reduced opacity to suit the image) in layers. For abstracts of rock formations, pebbles, ice etc., I do use a tripod & a wide-angle or macro lens. The same methods to produce abstracts or semi-abstracts have been used at beaches and local lochs - examples of these can be found in my portfolio and on my website. Even on holiday ideas come to mind - recently in Canada I spotted a lady in a long flowing dress, hanging onto her hat in the strong wind. She ended up in a semi-abstract of a windswept beach in Scotland.

What draws you to abstract photography?
I take inspiration from shapes, forms and textures found in nature, often photographing trees, rocks, sand, frost, ice etc.


Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: jordachelr
'bubbles' by jordachelr

How did you get into abstract photography?
I think the predilection for abstract photography came as a result of two factors: I like to photograph objects (products) and I like advertising. This way I can send a message associated to an object, as opposed to most commercials that have become unrealistic and therefore unreal.

Talk us through how you come up with your ideas.
Most ideas come as I try to associate unpredictable situations like shadows, angles, shapes. Also, I start from the concept of something and things flow from there.

Talk us through how you set up and take your shots.
I prefer natural light. At the beginning of my career, which was 12 years ago, I discovered how well a see-through curtain diffuses the natural light by the window. I’m still surprised by how many artists still totally depend on the interior lights for their shots. A basic set up (with or without interior lights) is generally what I need. That is a single source of light that falls at a 45 degree angle on the subject and a reflector. I take advantage of the circular polarization. I use it especially for light reflecting objects. All professional photographers prefer a set up that is as correct as possible. I am like that too – I spend as long as it takes until I have the perfect light on the product as well as on the background. If the background is white I add light on it too, so that I won’t have to adjust it in Photoshop afterwards. In terms of the interior lights I prefer 3 or 4 sources, of which the diagonal source is always underexposed by 1 or 2 steps.

What draws you to abstract photography?
As I said, I think I can visualise and associate lines and objects that lead to shapes and proportions that are correct, balanced yet diverse.


Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: Net of Fish
'Net of Fish' by ericfaragh

How did you get into abstract photography?
In one sense, I’ve always seen the world as a series of abstracts. From early childhood I would pick out small things and “frame them” by way of my attention. I perceived patterns everywhere. The world is full of abstract images, especially to a child. But at first I saw this way of viewing reality as something that everybody did continuously and so I didn’t value it, deeming it commonplace. When later, after leaving school, I worked in Liverpool’s Central Libraries, I was lucky enough to be assigned to the Arts and Recreations Library, where I acquired an appreciation of perspective and composition. I studied many images by a host of famous photographers, but always tended to undervalue the abstracts because they appeared to be images that I saw every day and everywhere. It took me some time to realise that such images are not seen easily by everybody all the time. 

Another element which deterred my early pursuit of abstract photography was the cost involved. I speak of a time when film and cameras where barely within my reach financially speaking and had to compete with a wide range of other interests. I also did not have the space for my own darkroom and therefore had little control over the image, compared with these days of digital photography. Therefore, each and every shot was precious and the vast majority were expended on capturing my family, landscapes and the architecture of Liverpool, with abstracts as a poor fourth. 

Talk us through how you come up with, set up and take your shots.
I walk around with my eyes open but without consciously seeking anything. Something catches my eye and I attempt to mentally fix that something, because almost as soon as you notice what catches your eye, you bring your conscious perception to bear and in that very attention lose sight of the initial attraction. In some ways, you have to mentally take a snap shot in the moment that something attracts you and attempt to keep that in your head while you examine the subject, ready to attempt a photograph which will mimic that first impression as closely as possible.

I find in my own case that I do not have the advantage of a conscious eidetic memory, but I do have a sensation, a feeling of rightness, when I find the correct place to recapture that initial impression.  Perhaps it is a subconscious eidetic memory?  Whatever it is, I have a feeling of satisfaction (very rarely perfect) when I am in the right position to regain that eye-catching quality.  Most of my abstracts have presented themselves in this way, via a sort of sideways glance, followed by a more careful and considered re-approach in an effort to restore a strangeness to the familiar. Something half-seen is fascinating because it is full of possibilities and mystery. The greatest difficulty is to present a still image that may be studied for any length of time, which yet captures the appeal of that eye-catching instant of perception before you really know what a thing is.

Once the subject has attracted me, I consider the light, the direction of the light, the fall of the shadow and begin to take shots. I take full advantage of the digital nature of modern photography to keep experimenting with my exposure and I examine results on the camera between shots. I usually select an aperture and run through a range of shutter speeds. I can afford to do this because my subjects are mostly still. Occasionally the shutter speed takes priority and then I will usually resort to a change of film speed rather than a change of aperture, but all this is generalisation and I am not bound by any guidelines or rules, I’m merely stating what I tend to do mostly. The subject and the light dictate what will create a worthwhile image. Almost anything is a worthwhile subject in the correct light, taken at the correct angle from the right viewpoint. If the light is variable (clouds across the sun) then I will wait for the return of the image which drew me, or come back another day.  

What draws you to abstract photography?
It's simplicity, i'ts impact, it's mystery and it's infinite variety.


Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: Sensuality
  'Sensuality' by Nick_W

How did you get into abstract photography?
I've never really considered myself to be an abstract photographer as such, but I have always been interested in detail, and trying to portray an image in a slightly different way. When I was first interested in photography, probably 25 years ago, I remember buying a magazine that featured still lifes from two great photographers noted for completely different genres, they were Bob Carlos Clarke and Robert Mapplethorpe. Both took mundane subjects, used high contrast Black and White and gave them feeling, and mood.

Talk us through how you come up with, set up and take a shot.
I'm a type of photographer that generally gives quite a bit of thought to an image long before getting the camera out. I tend to have an idea how I want the image to look long before I take the photo. For abstracts I tend to use a tripod, I will have an idea how I want the lighting, but I just relax and play with the lighting set up, experimenting with different angles (if using strobes), different modifiers etc. I think about how I want the light, hard or soft. If soft I tend to get in really close to the object with a softbox, I have even been known to use a soft grad to balance the light if it's too bright on one side. But no two images are the same, so I will use different techniques to realise the pre-visualisation.

For example with "Sensuality" I was inspired by the aforementioned Robert Mapplethorpe, who used Arrum lillies to portray sexuality. With Mapplethorpe he portrayed male sexuality, however I was intrigued by how the flower unfolding looked like that of a woman's curves, alluring, almost inviting. I used a black card bought from a local art store to concentrate the viewer's attention on the flower. I then used the lighting to give soft light, slightly backlit, to glow through the petal to accentuate the unfolding petal. Using backlighting also held all the very intricate detail in the front. I then took a series of images from the front of the flower to the back at f/14, then blended in Photoshop to give a very sharp image front to back. Finally I converted the image using Silver EFEX Pro to Black and White, as I think Black and White removes all the colour information allowing the viewer to concentrate on the shape and form of the object.

What draws you to abstract photography?
As I mentioned at the start, I don't really consciously think of my photography as being abstract, but I am intrigued about using unusual angles, or a different perspective (e.g using a long lens in landscapes from time-to-time). I look for simple shapes for example triangles, or curves, as in the above example something for the eye to follow around the image.


Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: Clicknimagine Holi3
'Holi 3 (without foot version) by clicknimagine

How did you get into abstract photography?
The creativity in abstract photography always attracts me. I love it when a photographer takes an otherwise ordinary shot and shoots it at just the right angle or focus to create a masterpiece of colours, patterns and textures.

Abstract images can be created almost anywhere and it is really easy to me to find out the subject matter even in my home. I indulge in abstract photography more often than any other kind of photography due to its creativity and availability.

Talk us through how you come up with, set up and take your shots?
I always look around to find simple lines, patterns, curves, colours and forms which can be interesting. The emphasis on form, colour, lines and curves tends to elicit strong reactions from the human perceptual system. This is not just a psychological matter. It is actually hard wired into the human neurological and mental systems. For instance, the human visual system responds very strongly to certain colours and colour contrast. In addition, certain parts of the brain are programmed to respond to curves and shapes. I don't use any Particular set up for abstract photography, I try to avoid harsh sun light unless it is otherwise intended, and often use natural light. I don't bother for any composition rules and try to make it simple, powerful and dramatic.

What draws you to abstract photography?
The creativity as said earlier, and the challenge to make a simple and common subject matter interesting.


Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine: Balance clintnewsham 'Balance' by clintnewsham

How did you get into abstract photography?
I don't think I ever got into abstract photography that much. In my early days of photography many years ago I liked to mess with different set ups to see what they came out like. Some worked but on many occasions they did not. In fact, I tend to struggle with ideas or fail to spot chances that are under my nose.

Talk us through how you thought of, set up and take the shot 'Balance'
Balance was not really an idea I thought of, I've seen the same shot on many occasions using an egg.
I thought I would put my twist on the subject using a blue marble. The set up for this shot is really easy: 1 large sheet of white paper, 2 new forks and a large marble of the colour of your choice.

Due to the weight of the marble, I had to put weights on the end of each fork to hold them steady. No lighting was used for the shot, just natural light from the window. Take lots of shots, adjust white balance and exposure until you're happy with the result.

What draws you to abstract photography?
Im not sure if anything draws me to abstract photography, it's one of those subjects that if I get an idea or an opportunity, I will do my best to pull it off.

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Top Abstract Photographers On ePHOTOzine:

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JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2013 9:37AM
I love abstracts, so thank you for your inspiring images. Often a brilliant way to see something new or even to think more about something unrelated - of all the art I'm most likely to hang on a wall its abstract images that win over every time as they typically add beauty without intruding into a space. I look forward to seeing more in the galleries.

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