Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Abstract Photography – Has photography come of age

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Abstract Photography – Has photography come of age

Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” – W. Eugene Smith

The invention of the camera liberated painting from its reportage role. Gone was the need to produce a likeness, detail the events of the story, painting was free to express emotions. True what had gone before contained an emotional content but now painting could experiment and through imaginative interpretation allow the emotional content to predominate. Freed from this constraint the painter was able to create a new language and explore the motivations of their art.

As the 19th century evolved and throughout the 20th century painters from the impressionists through the cubists and expressionists to the minimalists could to use colour, line and form to go straight to the emotional content of their work. The representational aspect of the work become coincidental and was pushed to the point that it became akin to lying on the grass making shapes out of clouds. Enjoyable as it may be it is secondary to the nature of clouds.

The introduction of the digital darkroom has given this freedom to photographers. The range of tools to fix and enhance the camera’s capture when pushed to its extremes produces a range of fascinating effects. When added to the filters built into the better software, images can be produced that any comparison to the original photograph is purely coincidental. As photographers explore these tools and incorporate them into their photographs so their visual language will grow. The revolution of the medium with the development from black and white into colour is taking its next step. Now with the digital darkroom’s ever growing range of tools the only limitation is the photographer’s imagination.

With the use of these tools, the skilled photographic artist can take the pop song and create, in visual terms, the lyric beauty of a baroque symphony or the down town jive of a jazz variation without a tree or a high rise in sight. Just the light captured by the camera and fine tuned into something completely different, something new that comes from the photographer.

The photographer has been liberated like the painter before them by technology. Now photographs can explore the full range of human experience including those they have no words to express. Large statements will be accessible by the photographer not only in physical terms. Although like their painter counterparts, through an additional feature of the technology, the large canvas is becoming the order of the day. That this canvas can express feelings rather than just illustrate them denotes that the photography has become an adult in the arts.

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Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
Psalm 104:10-13

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number living things both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
Ansel Adams

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
Ted Grant

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
Dorothea Lange

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
Ansel Adams

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
Matt Hardy

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Elliott Erwitt

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
Imogen Cunningham

You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
William Albert Allard

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
Garry Winogrand

I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.
Anonymous

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
Ansel Adams

It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
Timothy Allen


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