I am trying to impress some of my friends, and also my teacher (who is a professional photographer). He asked us to take three frames to represent abstract photography. I have taken some shots and I don't know what to say about them at all, so I decided to ask you firstly!

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Abstract photography is the most difficult photography "area" in my opinion, so I am trying to learn. What do you think? Which 3 frames should I choose? Is this abstract photography? Thanks!

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is a request for critique, which is expressly off topic. meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/150/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 29, 2014 at 22:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think this question is pretty hard to answer as it is, but I don't think it's an off-topic open-ended critique request. See Can we re-open the door to something a little like photo critique?. This question is mostly about how to make a successful abstract photograph, and the examples given are just that — something that, overall, we like to see in questions. (See Why do so many questions lack images?) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 29, 2014 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ why are those abstract? a closeup rug, upsidedown autostairs, random city shots? \$\endgroup\$ May 30, 2014 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I kind of agree with Michael, I'm not exactly seeing "abstract" in these photos. Maybe "not quite normal", but not "abstract". \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    May 31, 2014 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, but this question is: if these are bad examples, how are they failing? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jun 4, 2014 at 8:37

3 Answers 3


IMO, none of these images are particularly abstract. To me, abstract is the opposite of representational--if the subject of the image is an immediately recognizable object, then it's not abstract. :D I can immediately identify everything in your images as the particular things they are. You want the shape/color/form to be of higher importance than the represented thing.

Abstraction is about distilling down to a series of geometric shapes. Matisse, Kandkinsky, Mondrian--they tend to be more about pure geometric form or color as an expression of the subject, rather than the subject's physical appearance. Naturally, with photography, it's more difficult than with painting to get away from exactly replicating appearance, but you can.

Try to find shapes where the geometry of the shape overcomes its "thingness". For example, with your top shot, getting closer to the repetitive corner pattern, so that you shut out the security camera and the sky, and remove the "buildingness" of the shot to just those zigzags, and you'd be closer to an abstract image.

  • \$\begingroup\$ about the other shots? can you advice me regarding crops or edits that would help me? \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor
    May 29, 2014 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope. I'm not seeing anything that you could represent abstractly from the shots as-is. You'd have to reshoot with the primacy of geometry/shape/color in mind. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    May 30, 2014 at 19:23

Everyone sees something different in abstract art - in me it invokes strong feelings but i can rarely put these into words. Looking at some pieces feels like a subway train at full speed in my head, others are calming, some heartbreaking while other bring up smells and memories from childhood. Interestingly a lot of abstract art does nothing for me personally, it feels pretentious and dead.

How can one learn to produce abstract art? Jackson Pollock was painting with feeling, he "felt" what colours, what blotches and splatters, where and how heavy, what the dimensions of the canvas...

Personally, I very much enjoy seeing abstract art and really really want to be able to see and feel in this way and express it but so far my attempts have not been very successful. Most of my drawings, paintings and photos were a fun process but when these "pieces" were finished they just felt too forced and fake. Sometimes immediately, other times after a few years, most are in a landfill now. Personally, I find painting is easier then abstract photography but I will keep trying.

Anyway, a few years ago (2011) one of our very own SE Photography users, one @jaxxon, was occasionally participating in and winning our featured photo contests with some breathtaking abstract macros. I believe that to produce his photos he was looking for rusty cars, textures, colours and compositions at different often macro scales. To this day his "abstract" photos are some of my personal favourite photographic abstracts.

I was so inspired by his work that I made it my mission to save up for a good fast macro lens and give it a try. I finally have one but I am still shooting unable to see in this way. It's a lot of to keep trying though.

jaxxon's flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxxon/with/9597408136/


about the other shots? can you advice me regarding crops or edits that would help me?

I'll go for someting like that, with less upper left corner (I don't know how you name mechanical stairs)



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