Janet must really like us, or she is being blackmailed, but after leading a critique session on November 4 she is coming back on November 11 to give a talk titled “Looking Beyond the Real: Abstraction in Photography.” 

Abstraction in its simplest sense means taking subjects out of their context by removing what gives them context. It’s been said with tongue in cheek that if you look at a photo and a voice inside you says, “What is it?”… well, it’s an abstract photograph. But it’s not as simple as it may seem: a compelling abstract engages the viewer because it is not about the object itself, but about graphic qualities like line, texture, color, shape, pattern, and rhythm, and about the more intangible qualities like mood, harmony, and mystery. I like to think of abstraction as a process of transformation or invention — while creating abstraction in a photograph, we are engaging our imagination, in a sense making an altogether new object.

Exploring abstraction is time well spent, even if you don’t consider yourself an abstract photographer. By using some of the principles of abstract photography, you can compose even a representational scene using elements of abstraction more mindfully and select them to form your chosen emotional message. In this presentation, I share some of my work and talk about the ideas and practices that I employ in found abstraction.