Truth be told, deep down I have thought abstracts are a copout. It is my comfort zone. I can always resort to the abstraction when I am frustrated, didn’t do my preproduction homework or emotionally not ready to take chances with my photography.
I do think abstracts are good exercises in seeing, composition, and lighting. They usually don’t move so you have plenty of time to construct the image. They rarely dictate the composition, the photographer does. A good abstracts can have all the emotional qualities that any other image can.
Maybe my struggle is that I don’t feel my abstracts are preconceived, they are a surprise. I point my camera at a pile of seaweed at Point Lobos and Bam, there it is! A surprise, a composition reveled itself to me at the moment and I made a pretty picture. I don’t feel I worked for it, nor deserve it. The funny thing is when I prepare a preconceived photo shoot I welcome the surprise, the spontaneous moment… Go figure!
Below are some examples of a very frustrating day of shooting with a camera that was malfunctioning, no previsualization, no surprises while shooting, and no expectations whatsoever.
What did happen was a process that I was unfamiliar with. While I sat in the hotel room looking at the images I began to see things, some potential, a finished product. I have never been much of a postvisualization creator, I sure it has happened at some point in my career but not to the extent it did with these images, or in the past I wasn’t at a point that I could recognize it, or more to the point embrace it.
Always something new to learn!