Abstract large format - suggestions

Discussion in 'Abstract' started by Treymac, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Treymac

    Treymac Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hey guys.
    I`m going to shoot my last project in my last photo course. It`s very depressing. But I`m going to be shooting 4x5 and I haven`t been able to come up with anything. But when I was discussing the project with somebody else in the class, it hit me to do something abstract.

    My problem now is, I have to do my shoot tomorrow and I have no ideas. I`m going to browse some pictures online, but do you guys have any suggestions?
     
  2. E76

    E76 Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Instant Films
    Take a look at Brett Weston's work, especially his Abstraction portfolios. I've always been a fan of Weston's work and find it to be very inspiring!
     
  3. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,561
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,289
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Go photograph some cracks in rocks, or tree bark, or a close-up of anything with a repetitive pattern. Turn your brain loose.
     
  5. Treymac

    Treymac Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've never really thought about abstract photography all that much. But it's something that really interests me, and with the large format, I can really blow something right up.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,118
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2010
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

    Messages:
    9,184
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The most important thing about abstract photography to think of when finding and composing images is to remember to minimalize if not eliminate context. A photograph of a road can be abstract if you don't have buildings to give it scale or perspective. A rusty car becomes abstract when you photograph it such that the rust becomes a pattern, or the shapes and form of the vehicle is the subject.

    Or do photograms or still lives - look at Ruth Bernhard and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy for examples.
     
  8. panchro-press

    panchro-press Member

    Messages:
    122
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Go Constructivist! Light Line and Mass

    Dave
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm kinda fond of the Equivalents series by Stieglitz. Not only is it really early abstract, it is subject matter everyone has access to. Good luck with the weather for it.
     
  10. bblhed

    bblhed Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Location:
    North Americ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Picaso was inspired to paint his abstract art by photographs of the time that showed things cut in half, or parts of things missing, perhaps you could look at some of his works and use them to inspire your photos. It might be interesting in a full circle kind of way.
     
  11. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

    Messages:
    256
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Location:
    Brighton UK
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Interesting question. I've often been told by students that they 'can't come up with an idea' or there's 'no interesting subject matter around here'.
    And it worries me that this response is common amongst people who, some day, aim to become professional photographers. (I don't know if you do, but bear with me).

    It's a professional photographer's job to make boring and mundane things look interesting - especially when they're starting up and they can't pick and choose jobs. Often, earning a living will be the main priority and 'doing something interesting' comes a poor second.

    By your desk, inside your home, outside the front door or maybe only fifty yards down your street there is something that you can use as subject matter. It doesn't have to be interesting but it's your job to make it interesting.
    Just the same as it's some poor guy's job to shoot Big Macs or bananas for the umpteen millionth time and still make them look interesting : In fact, he probably isn't poor, he's probably extremely well paid for his unusual creative skills.

    I apologise if this sounds harsh but I think you'll agree there's got to be some truth in what I say. Most important, don't let this project put you onto the back foot, use it as a vehicle to develop ways of seeing familiar things anew. If you can, one day, your ability to make a living may depend on it...

    Regards
    Jerry
     
  12. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Central NC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Think about textures. This will give you a good excuse to play with lighting too. Single textures can be interesting studies, contrasting textures can be more thought provoking sometimes.

    For example, confine yourself to a small area, like a small exterior courtyard. Explore all the textures you can find in an afternoon. Watch the changing light bring out changing textures, etc.
     
  13. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Eliminate it. Most photographers cannot bring themselves to leave out that little strip of sky or a cloud or something to tell the viewer what the thing is in the picture. In my opinion, when you do that the photograph ceases to be art. Never be afraid of pure abstraction.

    "All good art is abstract in its structure." ---Paul Strand
     
  14. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

    Messages:
    9,184
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    What I was thinking of when I said minimize if not eliminate is things like architecture, where it may not be possible to eliminate all recognizable features to tell you what something is, like windows or doors.

    Also, don't be afraid to throw notions of "proper exposure" out the window - silhouettes, extreme contrast, and highly muted contrast are all viable tools for creating abstractions.
     
  15. mabman

    mabman Member

    Messages:
    830
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's said Picasso's inspiration was a box camera with a cracked lens and a prism held over this lens. Link. Can't say I've been brave enough to break one of my lenses, but there you go :smile:
     
  16. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

    Messages:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    South Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Haven't checked your link, but I thought his cracked lens photography was years after his Cubism success.
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,075
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Go to the store and get yourself some mushrooms and some pasta and other veggies. Have fun exploring all the abstract forms. Then cook it and eat it.

    This is an assignment; not the birth of a child. Remember to have fun.
     
  18. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Location:
    Waltershause
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do a Hiroshi Sugimoto and turn a technical difficulty into a creative tool. Long exposures. He did bodies of water and movie theaters, so you'll have to find something else that moves and looks good smeared. Epigonal photography 101 :wink:
     
  19. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    660
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Look at the black and white photographs of Orit Raff, who, at least a number of years ago, made the most surprising photographs exclusively in her 300 square-foot apartment.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  20. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    No need to eliminate anything. The key to abstraction is good composition. Compose anything abstractly and its an abstract. Two very identifiable portions of two faces in a picture can be a complete abstraction if composed well enough.The faces quickly fade away into shapes, tones. Its the viewers lack of understanding if they insist that recognizable objects be presented in entirety. Garrapata beach is an abstract. The sand dune photos are abstracts. Photos of tree roots are usually abstracted.
     
  21. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

    Messages:
    9,184
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Um, as an fyi, you realize this is a five year old thread? The assignment in question is long done. Too bad we never heard back from the OP about the success of his assignment.