You’ve probably heard of abstract art being applied to paintings, but what about photos?
Abstract photography is one of the fastest growing styles of photography in the modern art landscape, with digital tools empowering artists to get more creative than ever before with their shots.
Also known as non-objective, experimental, or conceptual photography — abstract photography is one of the most unique art forms out there, delivering mind-blowing images that are revolutionizing the art world.
In this article, we’ll work to define abstract photography, and give you some advice about where you can find the best abstract photos from around the world.
Let’s dive in!
Abstract Photography Definition
Abstract photography is a style of art that depicts a visual image that does not conjure an immediate association with the object world.
Unlike a regular photograph, which typically seeks to capture the truth about a person, place, or thing, abstract works may seek to isolate a particular fragment of a natural scene in order to displace its inherent context for the viewer.
Abstract photography artists use different techniques to uproot reality, including alterations of:
By doing so, artists can cultivate a seemingly unreal appearance from real objects, conveying new feelings, sensation, emotions, and impressions for the viewer.
There is no commonly-used dictionary definition of the term “abstract photography,” because abstraction itself works to defy definitions.
On a very basic level, abstract photography can be understood as the manipulation of a scene to be something that the naked eye couldn’t capture on its own, igniting imagination and consideration as to what forms reality can truly take on.
How is Abstract Photography Made?
Images that use abstract photography techniques can be produced with traditional equipment such as a camera, darkroom, or computer. These tools can play with light, exposure, and color to invite new meaning into a given photo.
Abstract photography can also be created without the use of a camera by directly manipulating things like film, paper, or photographic media such as digital presentations.
For example, an artist might take a picture of an ocean at sunset, then use digital cut-outs and the manipulation techniques listed above to create an entirely new image that is visibly ambiguous in nature.
There is no right or wrong way to produce an abstract photo. In fact, artists come up with new and exciting ways to piece together ambiguous masterpieces all the time, making the art form extremely and dynamic — and in many respects — infinite.
A Brief History of Abstract Photography
While much of modern-day abstract photography is manipulated through digital means, the art style’s roots can be traced all the way to the mid-1800s.
In 1842, photographer and scientist John William Draper cultivated images using a spectroscope — an apparatus designed to measure properties of light over specific portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Draper found a way to disperse light rays into a previously unrecorded visual pattern and then photographed it. Quite literally, art was paving the way to new discoveries in science, giving us a new perspective on reality.
Anna Atkins was also an early photographer that contributed to the abstract movement, placing dried algae directly on cyanotype paper — a photographic printing process that produces a blue-ish print. The results were profound, decontextualizing plants through negative imaging and lack of naturalized states for plants.
Both Atkins and Draper were mostly applying these techniques in the name of science, but the photos were repurposed and hailed as astounding works of art.
Who says that art, abstraction, and science don’t go together? This is the beauty of abstract photography — you never know where it will come from or how to define it!
Where to Find Contemporary Abstract Photography
In 2021, there are tons of incredible artists that are paving the way for new methods and interpretations of abstract photographs.
Great contemporary abstract photography makes a statement and tells a story, capturing all the reality and un-reality of the modern moment.
If you’re looking for a place to discover the best abstract photography sourced from talented artists from around the world, Gallerima is the place to start.
Here at Gallerima, we believe that the possibilities of abstract photography — and abstract art as a whole — should have no boundaries.
In our gallery, we have some of the best experimental pieces available anywhere, and you have the opportunity to have these modern masterpieces shipped right to your door for display in your home.
Ready to get started on your search?
Browse our abstract photography listings to find a piece that speaks to you. We have artists that play with every element of art — from colour to shape to cutouts and more.
It’s time to bring abstraction into your life! Shop around today, and have fun!