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Artist Viewpoint

What Is Abstract Art & Photography

I don't intend for this short article to be an art historian's thesis about art, abstract art and abstract photography.  Instead, I wish to merely set out a few thoughts about abstract art and abstract photography.  Hopefully, after reading this you will have a better understanding of the concepts and ideas that all artists have struggled with over time. 

What is abstract art?
Well, to understand this a little bit better it might be helpful to know what it is not.  The opposite of abstract art is representational art.  Representational art shows something that is very clear in terms of what it is.   It is recognizable, almost like a photograph.    

Abstract art on the other hand is a form of art that emphasizes design, color, shapes, form and movement.  When you look at a work of abstract art you frequently have a hard time recognizing what it is or what you are looking at.   In some instances the abstract is taken from an object from real life and made unrecognizable; but when you really examine the work you can begin to see what you might be looking at.  In other abstract works, the abstract doesn't reflect any conventional form.  All you see are shapes, colors, forms, movement and space that are intended to evoke some type of emotion. 

In a capsule, Veronica Scott states, "In my opinion abstract art is any art that doesn't try to realistically portray something.  Instead it uses texture, colors, shapes, movement and space to share an observation or emotion about the real object or idea." (1)

What is abstract photography?
Well, it’s the same as abstract art except it's photography.  How's that for an answer?  Let me spend just a little more time on this.  Abstract photography contains design, colors, shapes, patterns, movement and space in which the identity of the original image is may not be evident.  It is not just a documentation of some object in an environment.  Using different camera techniques as a starting point then through digital manipulation or treatment, something different is created.   

As Jonathan Steele comments, "Abstracts in photography can include part of the whole that in and of its self has some intrinsic artistic value.  This requires stripping off other aspects of the photo.  It can be analogous to seeing images in clouds.  These images are visible in the art of the photograph and is indeed a form of abstract art.  It can be colorful, mysterious, bold, etc.  Abstract photography can move people.  It has the power of emotion." (2)

There are a number of individuals that think that whatever type of photography you choose and like, it is still a documentation of a moment in time and there is no creative process involved, simply a skill in understanding the equipment.  In my opinion however, there are many people who understand photography as an art form.  They appreciate and collect photography and abstract photography as fine art.  I happen to believe they are right. 

Arthur Jacob

1. Veronica Scott, eHow Contributor
2. "Abstract Photography,” Jonathan Steele Artwork

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Arthur Jacob

What Is Abstract Art And Photography

Well, to understand this a little bit better it might be helpful to know what it is not...