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Abstract Photography by Howard Speed

'Through the Lens' by Phill Pawson

In Ken Herring’s Book called ‘Photographer’s Guide’ the definition for Abstract Photography is:

‘A pictorial and pleasing arrangement of colours and shapes which are not recognisable as known objects.....’



Create impact in an abstract image by using colour.  Consider the following points:  White Light is made up of seven colours Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.  This is the visible spectrum or natural spectrum.  However, life is not made up of only pure colours, and each photographer can therefore create their own individual ‘spectrum’.  However, you must make sure that your ‘spectrum’ contains both black and white to be complete.

Examples of a photographer’s individual spectrum:
Mono or a single colour, plus black and white – any single colour of your choice;
Two colours plus black and white e.g. Red and blue – a colour balance;
Three colours plus black & white e.g. Red/blue/violet - a cool image plus red for warmth;
Any number of colours depending on your preference.

Complementary colours are colours that enhance each other:
Red and ‘sea’ green work well;
Royal Blue and Yellow is another good example.                                                                                   

Colour can impart emotion and represent feelings:
Red – most arresting colour e.g. Traffic lights, red hot, red rag to a bull;
Yellow – a cheery colour – bright – happy sunshine;
Blue – a cold colour – blue with the cold – sadness – ‘got the blues’; 
Note that shadows on snow and ice are always blue;
Green – neutral – the most restful of all colours to the eye.

Colour Perspective
All reflected colours gradually become ‘bluish’ across distance.  Mountains look blue from a distance, but may be red when up close.  Any part of your print which you consider needs to come forward use red and any part which should recede use cool colours to create ‘depth’.



Practical Examples

- Coloured lights through textured glass, bubble plastic, sticky tape on glass;
- Reflections in water, rippled right through to rough and ‘choppy’;

- Reflections in windows especially mirrored windows on buildings;
- Reflections in curved items such as chrome plated musical brass instruments;
- Droplets of water or oil on polished metal such as stainless steel;
- Looking down on clusters of pencils, clothes pegs, broom hairs, nails etc., 
- Other simple objects around the house such as a heap of coins lit with low angles light.

N.B.  The image should look abstract, and not be obvious as to what is the subject.


  'Singapore Roof' by Dave Kingdon

'Oil and Water Don't Mix' by Lew Chapman

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