It's Week #14: "Abstract"

To be shot and submitted between Sunday, Mar 29 and Sunday, Apr 5 (noon, Eastern)

It’s abstract week… one of the rare challenges we’ve featured every single year! There’s a good reason for it: abstract photography offers a wonderful opportunity to focus on texture, color, line, and form, without worrying about those pesky things like context and “realism”.


If your viewer looks at your photo and says, “I don’t know what it is, but I like looking at it!” it means you’re on to something!

Keep in mind that abstract does not necessarily mean “unidentifiable”. A good example is this sunset, by Sidney Bild, in which you can still “feel” the atmosphere the artist was documenting, but captured in a unique, abstract way. Give it your own personal interpretation.

Some quick ideas to get your cranium cogs cranking: Super close (macro), blurred, patterns, over-exposed, reflections, funky post processing, be as creative as you like, so long as you’re doing it with intentionality.

Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • A formal definition of abstract photography, and a list of of dimensions to consider.
  • You can try your hand at Impressionist Photography, made popular byEva Polak, by setting your camera’s shutter speed to 1/20(ish) and shaking your hand in a specific direction as you shoot. Try and keep the scene intact to the viewer, as described above.
  • Check out these great tips, with examples of great iphoneography.
  • Go to MOMA (without leaving your chair)! You can zoom so far into Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” you can see the cracks in the paint. Incredible.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our albums from 2014, 2013, 2012, or 2011. There’s plenty more beauty here, here, and of course, Google Images.

Extra Credit: “Abstract Nude”

The human form is the earliest subject explored by artists. We encourage you to look at it anew, find the abstract within the corporeal, and share it with us. Remember of course to keep your submission tasteful.

  • Check out this video tutorial of a one light setup, to capture great abstract bodyscapes.
  • See some incredible examples of abstract nudes, here. (Obviously NSFW)
  • A great profile of an artist that uses blur and color.

Again, it is not necessary to work in this Extra Credit piece. It’s extra credit!