What is abstract art? How do you decide what’s abstract and what isn’t? These of course are great questions. They are also open to interpretation. Mostly, abstract art leans in the opposite direction of representational art.

Using lines and shadows in a minimalistic fashion is one form of abstract art. The eye is drawn into the movement of the work. To the shapes and colors or lack of color.

Abstract and minimal art can easily be found in the everyday. If there is light and shadows, you’re already off to a good start. If you’re not used to this kind of work you can look at the work of the photographer Aaron Suskind. Also, they are many painters who work in this style.

Monochrome Abstract Film Photography
Untranslatable, New York City, May 2020

This photo was taken with a film camera during the pandemic lockdown on my daily walks. Film photography has a way of making you take your time to look at and study your environment. There’s always something to photograph and sometimes it’s there in your front of your face to shoot.

Street Photography Tips – Working with Light

The winter light is beautiful for photography. Without light, there is no photography. The word photography literally means writing with light.

So learning how to take advantage of the light is a number one priority. I have always been a natural light photographer. I’m not especially fond of working with studio lighting or flash photography though I do occasionally use fill flash during daylight hours. This is of course, my personal preference.

I shoot all year and in all kinds of lighting situations. From bright sunny days to overcast days. I focus on following the light. There are times when I have a sense while shooting that I’m going to process in b&w or color. It becomes easy to see it while shooting.

Monochrome Street Photography
Stripes and Shadows, New York City, 14 March 2020

But there are other times when it’s only after uploading the photos to computer that I am able to decide. I often like to let my photos “marinate” for awhile before making that decision.

In this photo I was shooting into a window reflection and capturing shadows. I chose b&w because I wanted the focus to be on the lines and not distract the image with color.

I do hope that you are enjoying the winter light and it’s beautiful effects in photography. And for all the Australians and others who are in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer light is also very nice. Okay, I just love the light. Happy writing with light!

Street Photography Tips – Follow the Light!

My focus in photography has always been available light. I’m not saying that I haven’t or won’t ever use artificial light. Only that available light is my preference. Recently I had a photo tour with a Norwegian woman who mentioned that there is a period of time in the year in Norway when it’s dark all day. It is difficult for me to imagine living without sunlight both physically and photographically.

In street photography available light is what you work with whether it’s overcast or a cloudless sunny day and everything between. It has become obvious to me that there are a number of street photographers who only shoot on sunny afternoons when the light is perfect! While I’ve been known to take advantage of the perfect afternoon light on occasions, I shoot all year long and in all conditions without the exception of extreme weather.

New York City Street Photography
Modernism Has Failed, New York City, 19 June 2018

I think that it’s important to become versatile. Perhaps I say that because I know that I’d be bored if I have to wait for perfect light. I would become restless. When I’m out shooting I will follow the light. I allow it to lead me down streets. Even overcast light has the ability to lend to very nice light. I do occasionally use an on camera flash as fill. Not often though. I don’t think I like the results as much.

The right light can certainly make or break a photo. But composition with correct exposure works very well too. And then there’s processing. Some things can be altered or fixed. No, it’s not cheating to process your work. It doesn’t make you less of a photographer. So many master photographers who saw so little of the light of day in their darkrooms dodging and burning and cropping.

At any rate, I think that if you are able to shoot in all kinds of light and weather conditions that it makes you a more experienced photographer! What do you think?