Abstract Photography – What it is and How You Can Create Your Own

By | 8:26 PM
pixelation light color abstract scribble art inversion abstract image
light grafiti © Sarah Klockars-Clauser

A fairly liberal and impulsive approach to photography, somewhere in between painting and classic photography, abstract photography is a versatile form of art.  As with most creative activities, you will apply your imagination using the camera to evoke images from within the environment.  Wherever you may go, wherever you may look you might just find an image to take a shot of and turn into abstract by a process of enhancement.  Use of zoom lenses, filters and different digital settings can give you a real opportunity to play with the image you have captured.  You may also want to manipulate the photo in a photo editor like Photoshop or Instagram, or just leave it the way that it is.


Many abstract photographers hold to the idea that macro hides inside micro and use their camera lens to focus on the details creating a new subject from out of the larger whole.  What may be a small part becomes epic in scale in the photograph. With the focus literally upon it looking closely enough you can find some things that immediately catch the eye or are easily recognized familiar concepts.  Sometimes it is the items with the least attractive surfaces, with their complex forms and patterns, which often produce the most striking images. It is a matter of removing the context and drawing out the particular qualities you want to highlight. In this manner, partial shots of rusty metal, rubbish bins, old walls with peeling paint and cracked tiles– any kind of surface and texture usually ignored – suddenly become subject matter for abstract photos.


abstract image of rusty waves
Waves of Rust © Einarspetz
To create photo abstractions you can use both digital and analog cameras.  You can apply the rule of thirds, The Golden Ratio, or break all the rules and do as you please.  In the arena of abstract art, this is all fair game.  The first objective should be to react with your environment, see what draws you in deeper.  Instead of backing up and spanning around for a panoramic photo, this is a time for finding the details that might seem hidden in plain sight.  Or alternately, it may be you have to go inside or to the bottom of larger objects to find what it may hold inside.  This is much like a treasure hunt, the hunt for artistic photographs.  And here I feel I have introduced a topic which can very easily be a fun activity for anyone to try, especially if you have a digital camera handy, try composing your own abstract art photos. See if you can find something interesting or maybe even spectacular to the point that you wish to hang it in your home.  Here is one I did with my smartphone and added a “watercolor” effect in my photo editing program.   Hope you have learned something and perhaps have found a fun new art activity.



abstract door jamb, abstract image
An ordinary object zoomed in close.















© Rebecca H Knight, images used are © their respective owners. All rights reserved.




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