I love abstract photos and art. But how can one see the world in an abstract way?

Why abstract?

Eric kim abstract photos

I like abstract photos because they force the viewer to use their brains to try to interpret the photo.

I love that anyone can interpret an abstract photograph anyway they desire, and there is no right or wrong.

An abstract photograph can be interpreted any way and every way.


Why black and white for abstract?

You don’t need black and white for abstract. You can also shoot abstract color photographs.

Yet, there is something sublime about monochrome. Monochrome is the ultimate simplicity.


1. Play with reflections, surfaces, and light

Shoot through car windows, and make photos where light looks strange. Shoot the photos because you’re curious what the photos will look like after you shoot it.

“I photograph to see what the world looks like photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

2. Lower the exposure

Cindy water

Shoot RAW and process with ERIC KIM PRESETS.

In Lightroom when you’re processing your pictures, lower the exposure, and “crush the blacks” by playing with the “blacks” slider.

3. Simple shapes and forms

4. Get close

Google Pixel 3, with Vista black and white filter. Processed in Google Photos

Shoot more macro photos; look for beauty really close.

This is what I believe:

If you look closely enough, everything is beautiful.

5. Shoot with a flash

Flash toaster

The flash will make a lot more things seem surreal. Like the picture above, shot looking inside a toaster.

6. Photograph weird surfaces

Shoot aluminum foil, or other highly reflective surfaces.

8. Obscure faces

Don’t show the faces of your subjects (Street Photography surrealism technique).

When you don’t show the faces of your subjects, it forces the viewer to imagine what the face of the subject will look like.

9. Look down

Look at the pavement for weird stuff to photograph. If you look down, look for shadows, tire marks, anything that has interesting textures.

10. Shoot around the house

abstract

There’s a lot of interesting things to shoot at home. Look for cloths to photograph, drapery, or even ask others to shoot photos of you (Cindy took the below picture of me):

Takeaways

  1. Abstract photos work better when it is more difficult to determine what it is of.
  2. Experiment with monochrome and color for your abstract photos
  3. Study other abstract artists: Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, etc
  4. Good abstract and surreal photographers: Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, W. Eugene Smith

Shoot on!
ERIC

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