Abstract Photography Flavors, Aaron Siskind

Summary – I’m disappointed – in myself. I don’t believe that photography should be rule-bound. Yet, the beginning posts of my abstract series suggest otherwise. No recognizable subject, no over-the-top post-processing – do this, not that…. Time for a mid-course correction & look at different flavors of abstracts (more to come).

Just as there are more ice cream flavors than

Just chocolate & vanilla

There are more definitions of abstract than

Images with no recognizable subject

The 1950’s & 60’s saw the rise of

Abstract Expressionism Photography

 A broadened view of abstraction

Aaron Siskind (1903-91) was a foremost practitioner

11-23-2013 4-44-50 PM

An abstract? Not by current standards. (Image by moi)

Compare with the 1st image below

Siskind and other mid-20th century abstract photographers
such as Harry Callahan, Minor White, and Gita Lenz
and expanded the definition of abstraction
They sought inspiration in subjects
as seemingly mundane as rocks and peeling letters
Here’s the important part –
For the most part their subjects are easily identified
but are considered abstract because
extreme close-ups or unusual angles take the image out of a narrative context, allowing the viewer to experience something familiar in a new way
and – Yet another flavor of abstract –
“Abstract photography images depict their subject in such a way that its form is different in the resulting image than in real life”
Note that there’s no mention of the subject being non-recognizable


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