Abstract Desires

As you may have seen in my last post, I have been trying to stray away from the pursuit of sharpness in my photography, I have played around with off focus shooting and also techniques like panning during an exposure, deliberate camera shake etc. These techniques often result in some very nice photos and regardless of sharpness the resulting pictures rely on composition more than anything else, but like a piece of fine art they can move the viewer by their use of colour, pattern, shape etc etc. Also, when you start to move from the representational towards the abstract you also challenge the viewer by presenting them with an ambiguous image – they don”t always get a clear visual clue as to what the picture is about. So they must analyse the image in a different way, and any question of camera technique, processing etc becomes somewhat irrelvant, it is the nature of image itself which is of interest.

During my recent holiday in Scotland the incredible landscape had made me forget about this interest in taking more abstract pictures, mainly because the views are so amazing that you want to try and accurately capture them, and you start to think more about light and shutter speeds and technique. So it transpired that I was looking into doing some long exposure stuff with water, which is slightly overdone these days but I like it. However, it was so bright that even with 6 ND of filters I still couldn”t get the exposure length I wanted, so I started looking for dark glass objects to put in front of my lens…. This is where I had my breakthrough – I couldn’t find anything that would work for extending exposure time without effecting the quality of the image, so my mind turned to using imperfect glass (in this case the bottom of a beer bottle) to create abstract images.

I tried it out and was immediately very excited about the result – it was highly colourised and distorted but held some resemblance to the real scene. I felt I was on to something. So I wandered outside and tried some more, each one was getting me and more excited – I could compose the frame and then take it with the glass in front of the lense and get an exposure close to a traditional shot, make a small adjustment and I would get something wildly abstract. They made really pleasing images, whether its the warm colouration caused by the tinted glass or the smooth shapes created by the moulding of it, whatever it was, it worked.

Within a few minutes I had produced (what I consider to be) some really interesting images, some bordering on representational, impressionist style landscapes, and some completely abstract. With this breakthrough I have found a new style and something that I haven”t seen before from other photogrpahers. I”m sure you will all send me links now of other people doing similar things, but I guess thats the way it goes. Nonetheless I have decided to focus on using this method for a whole series of photos, and plan to develop a way to mount my beer bottle glass (and other pieces of found glass) to a filter to aid in the actual taking of exposures which at the moment is a bit difficult.

I plan to try and do some street photography, architectural and maybe even portraiture with this technique and see how it goes. I also will try and find some new glass and see how different and how extreme I can make the exposures.

I hope you like the pics I have posted in this blog, and I will continue to update www.thedailycapture.com with these photos, so check in and please give me some feedback.

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