The Art of Abstract Photography

The Art of Abstract Photography

One of the most important tenants for creating good art is composition. As a painter, you have time to select your subject, use different tools/techniques like lines, color harmonies, distribution of negative space and even perspective to focus the viewer’s eye and control the story you want to tell.

In photography, you have much less control over most of these aspects. True with Photoshop and filters, you can add, subtract, colorize and collage images together, and I have done these things to some images to express the story I want to tell. However, the most satisfying way for me to create art with a camera, happens before the shot is taken.

It is crucial that you know your camera. When you are out on a shoot is no time to figure out what f-stops or ISO’s work for which lighting or time of location. You need to know it so that you can trust your intuition to give you the settings you need to get the best shot.  I spend a lot of time shooting and experimenting in manual so that I can really be familiar with how it all works. READ YOUR MANUAL.

Divided Space, 2013, Bodie CA

Good photography is about seeing, paying attention to detail and being completely in the moment. You have to flow with it.

Abstract images are created when I see beyond the thing I am taking a picture of. Past the left brain basic understanding of an object, to its essence using available light, negative space, and specific detailed focus on some aspect of the object, I am directing my viewer’s eye to explore this thing in a new fresh way.

Then when I process the image I can further refine the story I want to tell.  In the final product, the thing becomes un-important and the composition, lines, and colors create a connection to the viewer that is purely emotional.

The thing I find so refreshing about abstract photography is that it allows me to see beyond. I am able to experience a thing, a person or a place in a new way, that opens up my imagination.

Do you enjoy abstract photography? Do you even believe there is such a thing? How do you decide what you are going to shoot?

Good Photography, Luck or Skill?

Good Photography, Luck or Skill?

I think it’s both. And then I think you also have to throw in some intuition and being in-touch with the moment.

I go to a lot of locations that most people just consider garbage dumps. Abandoned places left by folks who came to the decision that where they were was just not working for them and it was time to move on.

Very often vandals move-in and destroy what remains. I find this very sad, they don’t realize they are destroying historical social monuments to the past.

When I go to places like these I never move things, I just go in search of an artistic viewpoint to capture what is left.


I try to tell a story in my images. I use layered compositions that lead you into the image. Contrasting viewpoints that might provoke a memory or an emotion; like an evergreen tree’s reflection in a shard of broken glass. Nature outlasts humanity. Mother nature always wins.

To find these things you have to “get present”. Most people go for the full shot. Trying to capture as much as possible in the frame. I want what others don’t see. The texture of the wood, a pile of broken glass artfully arranged by someone else. These are the places I find my art.