Abstract: Weekly Photo Challenge

“Everywhere is something which could be beautiful…. Abstract, fine art, nature, landscape and portrait photography.”

Florin Constantinescu



This week Ben’s challenge invites us to explore the world of the abstract – representing known objects in a new way. There are times as a photographer when the shape and color of a subject becomes more interesting to the eye than the object itself. In the capture above I’ve reduced the reflection of the clouds on the water as it gently laps the shore to an image that (hopefully) invites further study by the viewer.



All good art is abstract in its structure.”

Paul Strand
The basic elements of nature have been cited for centuries as including earth, water, fire and air. They were proposed to explain the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances – divisible into infinitely small pieces without changing their nature. To meet this week’s challenge I thought perhaps abstract images of some of these elemental substances would honor them.  In the first capture we see both earth and water. Above, my interpretation of “air”, capturing an interesting configuration of clouds as they are configured by the air around them.


“You have to have time to be sorry for yourself to be a good Abstract Expressionist.”

Robert Rauschenberg

Further exploring the idea of “air”, some Scottish grasses, perhaps barley, gently blowing in the breezes for which Scotland is so famous.



“To abstract in art is to separate certain fundamentals from irrelevant material which surrounds them.”

Ben Shahn

I loved the quote above by Ben Shahn.  The creation of an abstract photograph allows the photographer to withdraw elements of a scene that appeal for many reasons in order to create something entirely new. One of my favorite captures, above, separated the water, grasses and tree trunks of our beautiful marsh from their larger environment. The abstraction showcases the age-old grandeur of the trees contrasted by the ethereal nature of the mosses and flowers around them.



“Abstract means literally to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract.”

Richare Diebenkorn

Above, a composition of river rocks that drew my eye last summer in the Colorado mountains. The longer exposure highlights the sweep of the water as it pours over the rocks – reshaping the earth as it moves along its way.


Finally, an interesting note on last week’s post.  I opened the post with a quote from Ken Poirot. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that Ken had seen and commented on the post as well as linked to it on his own site. It’s always interesting to see how far our thoughts and words travel as they make their way through the ethernet.  You never know, do you?


84 thoughts on “Abstract: Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Really an incredible set of photos. There is almost a different mindset I have when I shoot abstract photos, for me such a difficult thing and doubt I’ll ever be able to see things at the level you’ve shown here. You’ve captured the beauty of the world in a manner most cannot ~ and it seems every new photo ends up being my favorite. Also, very neat story about Ken Poirot and the quote ~ things in life never cease to amaze. Take care Tina ~

  2. Pingback: copse and rubbers | thechangingpalette

  3. great interpretation for this challenge. i especially love the river and the grasses… and how cool is that connection you had with Ken Poirot! you just never know how far your thoughts and words will go, and whose lives they will touch.

  4. Tina, an interesting piece on abstract photography. I learned a lot from reading it. I loved the final shot, it is a great representation of not only abstract but also contrast with a little Buddhist thought thrown in the mix! xx

  5. What a lovely way to interprate this week’s challenge through the elemental substances of earth, water, fire and air. I love the long exposure shot of River Rocks, brilliantly done. Really like Richare Diebenkorn’s quote. So true that each of us are abstract in our own ways and in our art. Abstract, it is whatever we make it to be.

    That is amazing that you got noticed by Ken. What are the odds 🙂

  6. Pingback: Abstract (Epitaph) | What's (in) the picture?

  7. Wonderful post…photos are extraordinary….and your words & thoughts are always so special…I am not surprised that they travel far beyond the immediate bloggers….you truly have a very special MIND & EYE!!!

  8. Happy Saturday, Tina. I love the muddy waters and the photo of the rocks. If you have a moment, would you tell me what you use for storing and organizing your photos? I’m trying to figure out the best way to begin to bring order to my very, very many shots. Thanks!


    • Hi Janet – apologies for not getting back to you sooner on this! I think everyone has the same challenge. I use Aperture as my photo filing system because I really like it’s structure buy as you probably know Apple has discontinued it so I need to move to Lightroom. I do back up all of my photos to separate hard drives, and I have Apple’s backup system in place as well. So I have 3 copies of every photo just in case. In addition, believe it or not, I keep a list of what’s on every hard disk in case something is corrupted and I want to find another copy of it. Anal I’m sure but it works for me!!

  9. Hey Tina = this is kind of an earth day celebration post too- enjoyed each image for different reasons – and the feedback is about the first shot – yes, indeed it did incite further viewing – and you know – it almost felt like a different dimension. The shore part had a viscous feeling – or the many different ways to read it – and the bits and pieces in the smooth layers added more interest – truly my fav of the post = but each fit so well in this take on abstract – and learned a bit too – about the process for a pro and how one grows…

Please Tell Me What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: