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Abstract photography presents subjects in a manner that removes most or all of the visual context and leaves the viewer unable to identify the subject. The aim is to produce images that are aesthetically pleasing purely as a consequence of the use of shapes, colours, lines and textures. The original subject is used as a mere vehicle to produce the image but has no identifiable part to play in the result.

Abstract patter - public domain imageA photographer must look at the world in a differnt way, and select subjects having characteristics that seem useful. The challenge is then to photograph the subject in an abstract or disembodied manner. Forms, shapes, patterns, lines and colours may all have a part to play, but the interpretive process is limited only by the imagination of the photographer.

Many approaches to abstract work are possible, although the use of patterns of various types offers numerous opportunities. A huge variety of patterns can be found in our everyday surroundings, both in nature and in the man-made world. The phootgrapher can work at any appropriate distance from the subject to reveal useful patterns, and depth of field can be used as an additional tool. Many abstract images incorporate large out-of-focus areas, and some may be out of focus throughout the frame.

Abstract images can be detailed, minimalist, colour or black-and-white, dark, light mysterious, sharp, blurred, or anything else one cares to think of. There are no rules provided the result is aesthetically pleasing. It is as simple as that! Start by looking closely at the objects within your field of view - really closely. Almost certainly, some of them reveal patterns of some sort.

Having found a few interesting patterns, free the mind to play with depth of field, associations, focus, magnification etc. Move the frame around the subject in every direction, rotate the camera and explore every angle of view available. Perspective, geometric shapes, lines, and light and shadow are all important factors. Try to feature any repeating patterns, and use available colour and lines.

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