ab­stracts& Graphic mono

They may only re­veal a small sec­tion of The world, but ab­stracts can be pow­er­ful pieces of pho­tog­ra­phy, es­pe­cially in black & white

Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner ’s Guide -

Clas­si­fy­ing ab­stract pho­tog­ra­phy re­quires a broad brush, and there’s no de­fin­i­tive right or wrong when it comes to defin­ing what is and not an ‘ ab­stract’. one view is that ab­stract pho­tog­ra­phy in­volves cap­tur­ing im­ages that are void of, or lack, con­text in re­la­tion to the sub­ject or scene be­ing pho­tographed. What does this mean? Well, imag­ine zoom­ing in and fram­ing just one part of a large build­ing, and cap­tur­ing it in such a way that the sub­ject as a whole isn’t im­me­di­ately recog­nis­able. With­out ob­vi­ous con­text, i. e. this is a part of a build­ing, it be­comes eas­ier to ap­pre­ci­ate shapes, lines, an­gles and tex­tures that might be missed when view­ing the build­ing as a whole – that’s an ab­stract ap­proach.

there are sev­eral pop­u­lar tech­niques that fall into this cat­e­gory – for ex­am­ple, high- key and low- key im­ages, pat­terns and tex­tures, sil­hou­ettes and com­po­si­tions fo­cus­ing on shapes, ge­om­e­try, lines and an­gles. in short, any im­age that of­fers an al­ter­na­tive or un­usual view on a scene could broadly be clas­si­fied as an ab­stract pho­to­graph.

graphic pho­tog­ra­phy, on the other hand, doesn’t re­late to pho­tograph­ing gory or adult themes! graphic im­ages sim­plify ob­jects or scenes and re­duce them down to ba­sic shapes or pat­terns, us­ing clever com­po­si­tion, light and shadow, and even cam­era or edit­ing tech­niques such as sil­hou­ettes or high- con­trast. graphic im­ages of­ten look more like draw­ings or paint­ings than pho­to­graphs. there’s a fair amount of cross­over be­tween ab­stract and graphic pho­tog­ra­phy, hence why we’ve bun­dled them to­gether here.

it shouldn’t come as a sur­prise that these sorts of im­ages of­ten go hand- in- hand with mono­chrome con­ver­sions – af­ter all, black & white im­ages are al­ready one step re­moved from re­al­ity by their lack of colour alone. re­mov­ing all colour from ab­stract and graphic com­po­si­tions can greatly add to the im­pact of an im­age, mak­ing the sub­ject or scene not im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous to the viewer. also, with care­ful and con­sid­ered edit­ing of black & white im­ages, the pho­tog­ra­pher is able to play with con­trast and mono­chrome tones in a far more ex­ag­ger­ated man­ner than is pos­si­ble with colour, for dra­matic ef­fect.

ab­stract com­po­si­tions are all around us, but learn­ing to see them is an ac­quired skill, and one that re­quires plenty of prac­tice. it calls for a far more care­ful study of ob­jects and scenes to see be­yond the ob­vi­ous, but there are some tech­niques you can try….

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