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Abstract or not abstract!

loweswood 17 317 England
30 Sep 2005 9:06AM
I have been a painter for a while and now am interested in photography also. Why do photographers have their own meaning to the word abstact. These images are almost universally not abstract at all but representational.

They may feature patterns, lines, shapes or colours but are not abstract.

there's my nit pick for the day.
Tooth 17 5.8k 227 Ireland
30 Sep 2005 11:16AM
Do you mainly do interior or exterior painting?

iansamuel 18 271 United Kingdom
30 Sep 2005 1:33PM
When you put it like that, isn't any photograph by definition representational and therefore not abstract?
c_evans99 18 7.0k 1 Wales
30 Sep 2005 1:47PM
Well I suppose it begs the question - if they're not abstract what do we call them?

A large proportion of landscapes are in fact seascapes and skyscapes, or even shoedcapes... how can we verify that all cityscapes are genuine and not townscapes?

As our shutter speeds aren't truly instantaneous is it accurate to call some of our pictures ;still life'?

Ceri Smile
sheilac 17 162 United Kingdom
30 Sep 2005 2:22PM
People use the word abstract because it sounds more arty than saying 'this is a pattern picture'. I agree very few 'abstract' photos are actually abstract. In my view abstract means that you can't identify any real life things in the image. Call me simple, but I can't see the point of a real abstract picture, since if you don't know what it represents it is meaningless without a description from the artist. I like patterns and graphic pictures of landscapes or townscapes or macro pictures, but I like to know what they are. I am very sceptical of anyone describing their pictures as abstract landscapes.
MarkyMarc 17 498 Canada
30 Sep 2005 3:13PM
Obviously a photograph is going to be representational of whatever is put in front of the lens, however is it not possible to create a photo of an object in such a way that is not representational of that particular object? To photograph it in such a way that it's not immediately recognizable? Or recognizable at all? Would you say this photo of mine is 'not abstract'? What do you see it as? Kandinsky's 'Yellow Red Blue' is a bunch of colours, shapes and lines and is considered abstract.

Quote:I can't see the point of a real abstract picture, since if you don't know what it represents it is meaningless without a description from the artist.

Maybe it is just enjoyable to look at?
floreus 17 106 1
30 Sep 2005 3:55PM
'Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation: abstract painting and sculpture.' taken from
I'm not sure why you're 'nitpicking' Why do photographic images 'universally' not fit this description?
Photo4x4 18 470 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 1:05AM
Is a photograph hung in a gallery with no one to look at it still an image?

Keith Hart
macroman 19 15.3k England
1 Oct 2005 10:32AM
Another 'nitpickers' convention.

Surely evan an abstract painting, has it's origins somewhere in reality, no matter how ephemeral.
iansamuel 18 271 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 12:41PM
anyone looked at samuelh's portfolio?
xanda Plus
18 244 2 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 12:48PM
Yep. Samuelh's portfolio is one of the most thought provoking on EPZ.
sheilac 17 162 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 1:44PM
OK! I can get some enjoyment from looking at many of samuelh's abstract pictures, though they aren't all abstract. Where a person is identifiable, he usually puts it in the portrait category. Those ones are more impressionistic to me. But I do like his style and found it thought provoking.

Had a quick flick through all the pics in the specialist/abstract gallery. Obviously some are specialist rather than abstract, but so far I found three with abstract in the title. To me none of those are abstract, they are patterns or puzzles. Two are explained in the description, removing any trace of them being abstract pictures any more.
conniemayw 17 100 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 1:51PM
looked at samuelh's pf briefly.
pleasant and well photographed/edited images but (forgive me everyone) nothing truly new or thought provoking.Do not consider most of his pictures "abstract" as most do have a point of reference to something material.
KenTaylor 17 3.1k 2 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 3:45PM
Abstract I take to mean removed from reality. Reality being a true description of an object. As for something new there is never a universal acceptance with many showing disgust for rocking the boat often through lack of understanding. Any image provokes a thought that goes right through the history of art.
The problem lies with the insistance that we pigeon hole everything. I have seeen comments on here when pics have been placed in the wrong category which is understandable for reference. I recall clubs that had sections for `pictorial` and `record`, plus portrait.
Changes have been made that now has `landscape`. Those that class their pics as `abstract` when it is evident it is not, are more than likely to have no prior interest or understanding in art .
deviant 18 3.1k 1 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2005 3:59PM
So when you write an opening summary of a report and you write Abstract: is that wrong coz that's not even a picture?
My brain hurts.

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