Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Abstract photography: Seeing things for what they aren't

Last night our monthly art group met again and it was my turn to lead it. We share the wealth of our knowledge because everyone brings a different artistic background to the table and we're all curious about learning what the others have to offer. It's a great give-and-take.
I wanted to talk about composition across the artistic genres and then get into abstract photography. As a warm-up exercise, we looked at the photographs in the current exhibition about the Occupy Boston movement. "What catches your eye in these pictures? And what keeps it in the frame?" I asked. Eye-catchers and eye-keepers include bright colors, stark contrasts, faces and eyes, lettering and patterns, we discovered. By not having the main element of the picture in the center, our eye moves from the dominant element(s) toward the center and then darts around, taking in the other eye-catching elements.
We wanted to try doing some of that ourselves. While my explanation puzzled a few at first, everyone eventually caught on.
First we made some sketches of what we thought might be interesting abstract compositions. Then we went around with our cameras, trying to re-create our compositional visions and sketches with the real-world objects we had at hand.

Soon, the penny had dropped and everyone was seeing shapes, lines and forms instead of pretzel sticks, tomatoes and wine bottles.

 And as the wine ran out, the empty bottles and glasses became part of our compositions, too.

And we even used them as creative filters!




This exercise seems to work. Try it out and let me know how you fared!

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