Abstract Photography Art

History of Abstract Photography

Abstract photography emerged during a shift from figurative subjects in other fields of art in the early 1900s. Modernist artistic movements sought to create optical art that did not refer to objects in the real world, and this desire carried over into photography. Photographers rendered figurative objects unrecognizable by taking a new approach to the medium, cropping and manipulating their compositions. Early abstract photographers banded together into collectives, like the Subjektive Fotografie and the Photo-Secession, to explore the purely visual aspect of medium. These groups experimented with close-ups, cropping, negative printing, and different exposure settings. Later movements, most notably Surrealism, also embraced the medium’s capabilities, further developing unrealistic images through solarization and layering methods. These abstract photographers aimed to establish photography as a field requiring artistic skill and challenged the strictly informative quality of the photograph. Today, photographers are still interested in creating abstract compositions, this time aided by refined camera technology and software programs.

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