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So why do artists create abstract art? Are they just nuts? Probably. But aside from that, what’s the deal?
We’ve touched on some points about abstract art in previous posts, but now I’ll tell you why I (the other I – the one that’s the photographer) sometimes create abstract images.
I like taking photos of water – still water, moving water, frozen water, you name it water, I shoot it. Now go to your favorite search engine and search for waterfall images. Notice how they all look alike? Each physical fall is different, but they have all been photographed in the same way – wide angle view, smooth water, maybe some rocks in the foreground. There are thousands of them, millions even.
They’re pretty and sometimes I take photos that would be basically the same. Hey, waterfalls are beautiful and a straight shot of one can be really nice.
On the other hand, personally I’m tired of these kinds of photos. I want something different. I want to show something different about the water. Water can change forms and it can reflect light and it can make noise and it can break apart and then flow back together. Why show it the same way all the time?
I want to emphasize the speed of the water going past. I want to show how the individual droplets sparkle in the sun. I want to show how the sun reflects off the surface of the water to make crazy little squiggles.
This goes to my comment in my post on Cubism: After hundreds of years of painting bowls of fruit or realistic historic and religious scenes, artists started to think maybe there is more to the world that could be explored. Just like maybe there is more to water than the stuff you see in your search engine.
If all I ever wanted to photograph were the same things everybody else does and if the only things you ever wanted to see were the same images over and over again, then we’d be some seriously small minded people. What a sad dull world that would be.
So I experiment. I ignore the usual advice to shoot water on cloudy days early in the morning. Instead I go out at high noon on the brightest sunniest days I can get my hands on. I move in close. I change the shutter speed all around. I wade into the water. I practically stand on my head to get different angles on things. I use black and white instead of color.
Now, how ’bout this? let’s say I want to show something in a photograph that’s not normally visible? What if I want to take a photograph of how the water sounds? What if I want to take a photo of how the water feels on my feet?
What then, eh? Maybe there is something to this abstract stuff after all.