Photos of nothing: Playing with abstraction

I was watching a documentary about photographer Paul Strand and got inspired to shoot some abstract photographs from around the house, not that Strand did mostly abstracts, but they showed some he’d done.

Abstract photography is, to me, a little like eating candy. Just as candy is made from processed food products (especially sugar) that have been stripped of all fiber and nutrients so that only the quickly-metabolized, fast-to-the-bloodstream stuff is left, so with abstract photography, it’s all shape and form and color without the difficulty of finding meaningful subject matter, dealing with living things, etc. So it’s more like playing with the camera than trying to say something with the camera.

For that reason (in part), I think that photographic abstraction is a lower form of art than photography that includes more literal forms, in general (though, I emphasize that that is a generalization). Taking a photo with discernible subject matter and that really has a message, something interesting to say, means you have to think about that message as well as the color and composition and make them both work. That adds another level of difficulty.

But, abstraction is fun and, despite the above, can still say something (in my case, it would probably be about the validity and intrinsic value of beauty). But it seems to me that with abstraction, the ideological palette is greatly simplified. (You can check out more of my pics here >