How do you approach absract images?

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Ganna
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Postby Ganna » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:00 am

Mainly for Art, Greg and Julie
How do you evaluate, or approach an abstract image? I'm still very much in the dark here;I know we have discussed this before.
I suppose the normal photographic principles is still important, such as focus, exposure, forms, contrast etc. Is it still important to lead the eye, to have a focal point, sort of composition....
How do you tell a story, evoke emotion etc. Sorry, I'm simply dumb in this field

gregmeister_admin
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Postby gregmeister_admin » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:06 am

I'll speak only for myself on this as there are certainly many different approaches to Abstraction.

For me personally; this is at the heart of "Seeing". This is where the deeper processes and your ability to get into sharpened or even heightened visual states will help you understand or associate the abstraction to something familiar.

As a photographer I have a hard time with abstraction as well. I find myself being a strong realist. If I were a painter I would lean towards pointillism. When I am faced with an abstract image I begin by trying to associate it with something based on what I see and what the title of the image might be. Usually, unless they are playing games with you; the artist wants you to "get it" and will give a strong hint with the title. If not, my enjoyment of the abstract relies on the free association I use to try to find something logical in the frame. Failing all of that I will walk away probably confused and disappointed. There is nothing wrong with that by the way.

As for evaluations. Photographically they are hard to critique because by their very nature they have little or no structure, focus, or defined color. I usually describe them in some form of motion or direction. An Image that shows me something without showing me anything is always a challenge.

At that point your critique of the image is going to be based on how you feel about it. If it's just messy blotches on the frame then you are perfectly reasonable in saying that. If it's sweeping waves of color and abstract forms remind you of your childhood running across the South African savanna then it's OK to say that too. When I find something in an abstraction it is usually an association with a scene or point in time that I might look at through half closed eyes or with a quick head spin.

As you can see most of my enjoyment of abstraction appears to be motion based. If I find no motion in the frame then the image has lost my interest.

Greg
Seeing is more than meets the eye.

Greg Groess
Curvemeister Instructor

Ganna
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Postby Ganna » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:36 pm

Thanks Greg

artmar
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Postby artmar » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:13 pm

Ganna,

One approach: About a realistic photograph we might notice focus, color rendition, exposure, contrast, etc. But can we articulate how we get from these aspects to finding the image "interesting", which, after all, is what counts most (an image may have proper focus, color rendition, etc and still be uninteresting). I think it would be difficult to answer the question: what makes a realistic photograph interesting? But if one tries, perhaps the answer wouldn't be too far removed from what makes an abstract image interesting.

Another approach: begin with early abstract paintings, which have identifiable shapes and forms. These are mid-way, in one sense, between realistic and non-realistic images. For example, this painting by Kandinsky -- how does it strike you?:
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/kandinsky/kandinsky.comp-8.jpg

A different but also mid-way image would be this one by Klimt -- do you feel that you understand it? if so, if the woman were eliminated and the design continued into that space would that render it difficult to understand?
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Gustav_Klimt_046.jpg

Another approach: look at paintings that stretch one's idea of representation quite a bit, like van Gogh and Matisse (I find this particularly helpful for expanding my sense of what can count as coherent imagery)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/1280px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
http://www.henrimatisse.org/images/gallery/the-dessert-harmony-in-red.jpg

Provocative questions you raise!

Art



Ganna
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Postby Ganna » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:36 am

Thanks Art. You are stirring things in me, have to read and study more. Looking at abstract images on 500px shows that abstract can span a whole horizon.I really think your image (on software discussion) is pretty, l like it although its difficult to say why. Will have to sit and and study it more, fortunately its soft on the eye. Will also have to get a book on art and Art across time by Laurie Schindler Adams 2nd International edition was recommended to me. We are visiting the kidds and unfortunately will not be able to chat tomorrow evening.
Thanks again to you all

Ganna
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Location: Estcourt South Africa

Postby Ganna » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:14 am

I've been paging around and it seems the most confusing abstract works are those leaning towards Vassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock..... I'le leave those for a stormy night :-) I

artmar
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Postby artmar » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:08 am

Hi Ganna,

Kandinsky had several different abstract styles, so I'm wondering which you find confusing. Possible to post links to one or two?
My wife doesn't particularly like abstract art, and when I show her one of my images, such as the recent one you're referring to, she says, "Oh, that would make a nice pattern for flooring, or a counter-top!" So, you might try viewing it that way :-)

Laurie Adams -- just looked it up --wow -- that's expensive! Please let me know if you find it helpful.

We'll miss you tomorrow.

Art


julie
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Postby julie » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:37 pm

Hi goanna
I have been following this and thinking.
I think one way into abstraction is to focus on the 'patterns' and colours and textures in realistic images.

For example images of patterns on walls or tree trunks or tyres stacked can also be viewed as abstract. From there to a Pollock is just a matter of degrees. Quite a few degrees though.

I like some abstract paintings and images but not all. I guess my criteria is vague. I want to be interested in the painting and 'feel' something.

It may interest you to have a look at some Australian aboriginal art. This can be very complex or quite simple. What I find most interesting is that for me this is abstract, but for aboriginal people it is story telling, and the patterns and shapes have specific meaning.

Julie

julie
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Postby julie » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:40 pm

Sorry about that ganna - predictive txt strikes again

Julie

artmar
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Postby artmar » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:33 pm

Hello all,

I think focusing on realistic images as Julie suggests is an excellent way into abstract art. (And I can hear Greg saying -- and into realistic images too!)
Vivian Maier's work quite directly invites that way of looking.
Here are a few of her images I've been looking at recently:


http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-4/#slide-8

http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-4/#slide-14

http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-4/#slide-15

http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-3/#slide-21

http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-3/#slide-42

http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-3/#slide-48


Art


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