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From Reality and on Towards Abstraction

There are many forms of abstraction open to photographers. Creative Blur, Black and White and Close-Up photography are popular examples. All the images in this post were all made with the camera very close to the subject.

I’d like to suggest that there are three ways of representing a subject, which can be outlined as follows:


A relatively straight rendering of the subject or scene, often made as a way to share and help remember important moments associated with the person, place, event or day in question.

Realistic photographs try to record what the photographer sees at the time of making the image.


A more creative approach where the photographer works to expand the representation of the subject or scene to include how they felt it. Successful examples often exhibit a mysterious quality and elicit an emotive response from the viewer.

In this case the subject matter is still recognisable, but photographed in such a way to cause the viewer to think about issues, memories and possibilities beyond that which is immediately evident.


Perhaps the most artistic form of expression, abstraction allows the photographer to take the viewer into a world somehow outside of their normal experience.

With the subject matter no longer recognisable the viewer is free to respond to the image as they fit. Responses vary depending on mood, age, gender, religion, cultural background, life experiences, etc.

Its important to understand that, while the photographer may have a particular message or theme that they want to communicate, the more an image moves towards abstraction the more open to interpretation it becomes. So, while I want to encourage experimentation, I also have to emphasize the point that, just like love, meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


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