Summary – Is there a point at which an abstract photograph becomes less a photograph and more digital art? Reasonable people may agree to disagree. Spoiler alert – I vote yes.
The White Wall
The goal of this abstract photography series is to discuss
How to make quality abstract photographs, considering
Craftsmanship, composition, creativity & communication
Before doing that, we need a common understanding of
What is meant by an abstract photograph
Specifically, the meaning that applies for future posts
Regardless of your personal views
(not to minimize your views, but for pragmatic reasons)
If you’re curious, the above is a photo
(of a white wall; Photoshop just made it more interesting 😉 )
The how-to is at the end of the post
Did it cross some line?
Not if the “rules” say – start with a photo then anything goes
but – It crossed a galaxy for purposes of future series’ posts
We began with definitions of
Representational and non-representational (abstract) images
Followed by an extension of the definitions
From images to photographic images
Each of these two posts narrowed
The meaning of abstract photograph for this series
Today’s post, the third,
Discusses the final narrowing of the definition of
What is an abstract photograph
It considers the question
When do abstract photos become abstract digital art?
The lawyers among us need not file briefs
For purposes of future posts the judge has decided already
No appeals, the decision is final 😉
An example of abstract photography – NOT
Start with a photo of this famous Wassily Kandinsky painting
We’re already on thin ice
It’s a photo of an abstract & not an abstract photo
(That objection from the defense is over-ruled ;-))
Now crop out the upper left corner
You are entering an exhibit that allows image alteration of any sort
?What’s a “little” cropping?
Next, pump up Wassily’s color a bit
You’re a Photoshop-whiz and the exhibit’s rules allow this 😦
Just to make sure the judge doesn’t suspect the source
(although the rules are silent on this)
Distort the image and shift the colors
Which is also permitted in “anything-goes”
This is still a photo? Really?? Come on, be serious!!!
IF – The rules require that the entry start as a photograph
and – Any and all post-processing adjustments are legal
Voila – a rule abiding abstract photograph
If it’s not clear – this isn’t an abstract photo in my book
Digital Art yes, but an abstract photo – NOT!
Competition & exhibits usually all have rules
There’s the letter of the law and
There’s the spirit of the law – which is meaningless to some entrants
How would I prevent things like the “Wassily-trick”?
(Assuming that not everything/anything goes)
I’d require two files for each image entered
#1 – The proposed entry (usually a jpeg or tiff file)
#2 – The original negative (i.e. an unaltered Raw file)
Comparing 1 & 2 readily shows the difference between
The capture & the image submitted for entry
Then – It’s up to the judge to decide
If some line (don’t ask) has been crossed
Not fool-proof but very effective except for
The most determined rule-benders 😉
This is the reason I refuse to enter any event
That calls itself photographic, but
Doesn’t separate entries into categories
Based on how the images are made
Comparing a “pure” photo and the “Wassily-trick”
Is an apples & oranges comparison
Yeah – they’re both fruit, but….
YMMV – it’s just my personal opinion & preference
From the ridiculous to the sublime
This starts with a photograph
The white wall in front of my desk
Followed by seven routine PS adjustments
No arguing that the result is an abstract
It’s calling it an abstract photograph that I won’t accept
Even though it would be a legal entry in some events
How could a judge tell?
Compare the negative (white wall) with the “entry”
By the way – the whole “adjustment” took less than 5 minutes
Click on an image to step through a slide show
Photoshop adjust description is at lower left of slide
Do you think no entrant would go to these extremes?
Look at some abstract “photograph ” examples and think again
Does anyone care?
Apparently only a few of us
But let’s ask anyway
A show of hands, please
Provide answers based on your thoughts as
You (hypothetically) consider entering an event
Titled Abstract Photography (not abstract art)
If you’d never even consider entering such an event
Please abstain from voting
If unlimited P-P were allowed, in your opinion
Are you entering an abstract art or photography event?
The question arises with unlimited P-P
Is the playing field level for those
Who are photographers, not digital artists?
If you consider yourself primarily a photographer
Would you enter under “unlimited P-P” or
Choose an alternative if it existed?
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