abstraction as metaphor

abstract

no. 2

When creating a photograph, there is an inner vision that guides the process. Whether one works directly from the world as it presents itself while wandering about or in the studio where the photograph is worked up consciously, there is an image in the mind that one tries to express. When observing as one walks, sometimes that inner vision needs to be acted on spontaneously; there is little or no time for conscious thought. Other times, something is seen and there is time for more consideration, as in a studio.

Envisioning an abstract photo to serve as a metaphor is not easy. Abstracts have their own way of meaning, yet the meaning can be clear. It arises from the structuring of the shapes within the frame: which parts are emphasized, how the shapes relate to one another, various types of rhythm, from color to line. All of these things create the meaning within the abstraction. Putting this meaning into words may be problematic, although sometimes a description of the photo will allow some themes to emerge.

This photo builds on the ideas of the previous one through a process of abstraction. The criticism of the class led me to crop that image to 5:4 and remove the negative space around the edges. This photo, then, began with abstracting the circular motion and the idea of a indentation or depression within the main shape. Further, the intent was to soften the image by reducing the sharp edges to a minimum and to make the depth-of-field shallow, so the contrast with the previous photo was highest. The circular shape was cropped severely and is visible mainly in the arcs across the top and emerging from the dark lower corners.

In processing, then, I worked to adjust the palette of each toward common values: mostly silver-ish tan and to use the repetition of the more orange-ish areas to provide some continuity.

The meaning, and the metaphor, are thus related to the earlier photo. A process of elaboration can allow the meaning to be transferred to the new image, which is much more abstract and yet has a similar meaning.

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About Ron Wiecki

Photographer
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