Photography is driving me to abstraction. That is why I have included the video above. Because Valda Bailey can describe far more articulately than I can, why some photographers are trending towards expressionism and abstract photography, rather than sticking with the more usual genres of landscape, street and portraiture.
For that reason, I wanted to understand more about abstract photography. I knew that it appealed to me, so I recently attended an exhibition, celebrating photographic expressionism. Coincidently organised by Valda Bailey and her colleague Doug Chinnery who together are baileychinnery.com
Some Abstract Photographers
Some of the best abstract photographers working in the UK were represented at the exhibition. If you view some of their work then you will get an idea of how some photographers are moving from reality to the abstract.
Iveta Lazdina is a fine art photographer from Latvia, who works with ICM, and multiple exposure to produce abstract photographic art.
Using ICM and multiple exposure to ‘simplify the image and using a limited colour palette to convey feelings of calm and serenity’
‘I use photography as the medium to express myself creatively and I enjoy the playfulness of using camera techniques such as multiple exposure and intentional camera movement to capture my impressions’.
Jocelyn Horsfall specialises in ‘atmospheric images inspired by flowers and foliage and the natural world’
‘For my abstract work my inspiration comes from my friends Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery, working with multiple exposures and ICM . It can particularly gratifying to apply some of those techniques to the more conventional genres of Landscape, Music and Wildlife.’
Laura Goin uses ICM and multiple exposure to capture the countryside that reminds her of home in Missouri.
‘For me, the landscape is a means of expressing how I look and feel about what touches me. The way a painter uses brushes and paint. I paint the landscape with my camera to create my images’.
Why the Trend to Photograph the Abstract?
There is a trend towards abstract photography, but compared to other genres it is still minuscule. On Instagram the number of abstract posts is 3.2 million, compared to landscape photography 68.3m, wildlife photography 27.2m and a whopping 114.5m for street photography. So we need to get this trend into perspective. It is a road less well travelled.
That however is part of its appeal. When I was into landscape I was always turning up at sites to put my tripod into the holes left by others. The likelihood is that they were up earlier than I was, had better light or better kit etc, all of which made their images far better than mine. When I was into street photography there were photographers with New York or London on their doorstep. My opportunities in rural Bedfordshire were far more limited.
Do We Need Another Selfy?
In 2023, 54,400 photos are taken every second, 196 million per hour, 4.7 billion per day, 32.9 billion per week, 143 billion per month, and 1.72 trillion per year. With too many photographs in the world is it surprising that some photographers are moving away from representational photography?
Abstract photography is moving beyond a literal interpretation, it is art and photography combined. There are no longer boundaries, creativity becomes more important than technique and technology. Photography is all about seeing. About making versions of what we have seen before
Expressionist photography is more about seeing what isn’t there.