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    In the world of abstract photography some very dramatic images can be produced. However, it takes a different way of looking at our world to identify the abstract photographic opportunities that surround us. It relies on our ability to sense more of the shape, colour, lines and curves that we see, rather than the actual detail of the subject.


    There is no universally accepted definition of abstract photography. However, for the purposes of this article, we will describe it as not representing the subject in a literal way.  So the image communicates primarily through shape, colour, line and curve rather than the detail.  Abstract photography connects with the viewer through their emotions. Therefore this allows the photographer to appeal to humans’ emotional systems as opposed to their logical systems.  For instance, the human visual system responds very strongly to certain colours and colour contrast. Also, certain parts of the brain are programmed to respond to different shapes.

    This suits the abstract photographer perfectly. When it is done well, abstract photography can result in some very powerful images.  It is important to notice that the definition did not say that the subject matter had to be unrecognisable. It is true that, in some abstract images, the viewer cannot tell what has been photographed but that is just one type of abstract image.


    There are a lot of other different photographic opportunities out there. Why would a photographer choose to create abstract images?

    There are a couple of main reasons. Firstly, abstract images can be very compelling. That in itself maybe all the justification that is needed.  Secondly, abstract images can be created almost anywhere. This means that a photographer can construct abstract images right at home and in the surrounding neighbourhood. Whereas, other types of photography, such as landscape photography, cost time and money to travel to specific locations to capture images.

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